Tradition In The Dollar Woman

Superior Essays
“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…
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 the overseer when he was old enough as it was the norm in the town of Sussex for their family to control the selling of the paupers. This is proved in act three when Lewis says to Jake “You’ll be what you have to be, like the rest of us” (Nowlan P. 151) after Jake states that, “I’ll never be an overseer when I grow up” (Nowlan P. 151.) This same situation is seen in Alistair MacLeod’s short story “The Boat.” All the children are expected to be fisherman as their father and his siblings had been. When the daughters left for education and love, they broke the tradition of being a fisherman therefore they lost the respect of their mother and community. The daughters were an anomaly in the town as their beliefs were not swayed by the tradition. The son, regarding fishing, remarked that his father “had never really loved it” (Macleod P. 274.) Overall, no matter how big or small a community is the traditions they follow are very powerful in impacting the citizens’ decisions and beliefs, as they become very established in the culture of the society. As well, income and rules can affect what people think of the

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