Tradition In The Boat By Alistair Nowlan's The Dollar Woman

1220 Words 5 Pages
“Tradition, long conditioned thinking, can bring about a fixation, a concept that one readily accepts, perhaps not with a great deal of thought.” –Jiddu Kirshnamurti. When there is a strong tradition followed in a community, it is a major component in shaping the citizens beliefs. It is often the base for the society’s cultural and societal norms. This is regarded in Alden Nowlan’s play The Dollar Woman during multiple circumstances. As well as in the short story “The Boat” by Alistair MacLeod, Kakenya Ntaiya’s TED talk “A girl who demanded school” and the short story “The Persian Carpet” by Hanan Shaykh. Firstly, traditions are generally passed down in a family or community and they often become almost impossible to break free from as they …show more content…
Finally, throughout the world many cultures exist and they all have their own traditions. This leads the individuals to have various beliefs, which impacts them in multiple ways. The majority of people have a tradition they follow, whether it is large or small, it is usually passed from generation to generation. This makes it very difficult to stop participating in it, which impacts the future generations’ lives. In the play the most powerful tradition is the selling of the paupers. Lewis’s father drove the paupers throughout the Parish in a wagon day after day, going door to door attempting to sell them. “He drove from house to house, coaxed, threatened, reminded people of personal favors, and used blackmail or bribery if he had to” (Nowlan P. 128.) The tradition was then passed down to Lewis. In attempt to make it easier for the paupers the auction was established. It was expected that Lewis’s son, Jake, would take over as …show more content…
The play is a prime example of this as the paupers cannot escape from being sold at the auction. They may be born as a pauper and live their entire life as one. At the auction, at the beginning of act three, Denis Fagan is placed on to the auction block and Lewis announces, “Denis is eighty-one. He already has all his winter clothes” (Nowlan P. 146.) This reveals that he has been a pauper for an extremely long time as he is elderly and has all his necessary equipment. No one questions if this is fair or not as it is normal in the society for someone to continue to be in the auction time after time. When Kakenya Ntayia wanted an education she went through genital mutilation as she is female. This was a tradition in the community therefore it was not questioned either. When she travelled to America to receive an education she stated that “ I learned that that ceremony that I went through when I was thirteen years old, it was called female genital mutilation. I learned that it was against the law in Kenya” (Ntayia.) When a tradition has developed and become strong in a society no one questions it and it is then able to shape the communities beliefs and impact multiple citizens

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