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Comparison of cultural contact between 2 books, black robe(brian moore) & things fall apart(chinua achebe) - Essay Example

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In Black Robe Brian Moore (1997) depicts the journey of two Jesuits in 17th century Canada on a mission to rescue the souls of "the Savages" as the French name the Indians there. Father Laforgue starts his priest career surrounded by Native American tribes. Father Laforgue is…
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Comparison of cultural contact between 2 books, black robe(brian moore) & things fall apart(chinua achebe)

Download file to see previous pages... Initially planned as journey against hunger, exhaustion and cold, the mission ends up fueled by suspicious beliefs and hostility provoked in the local tribes.
The focal moment and central theme in Black Robe is the clash between two different cultures. Moore (1997) explores the complexities of utterly divergent cultures and tries to juxtapose them on the background of historical events happening at the beginning of 17th century Canada. Moore (1997) attempts to give new understandings about both cultures. For Native Indians, baptism is “water sorcery”. To pray over beads would mean to put a curse of someone. To the savages the idea to have only one God is absurd. For the Jesuits, on the other hand the Indians appear barbaric and uncontrollable. Their religion is surrounded with sorcerers and superstitions. The way they observe and follow their customs are bloodthirsty. What Moore (1997) reveals in front of the reader is two cultures that are diametrically different. The Indian way of life and religion is frightenly dissimilar to the Western culture of Laforgue. The attempts from both sides to reach out for each other are directed by mutual incomprehension. Overcoming to grasp the different thinking and customs of each culture is the theme of the whole novel. The language barrier is not so difficult an obstacle than to understand the other. Both cultures test their beliefs in their contact of the contrasting culture. Moore (1997) best describes this in the Introduction of the novel:
The Indian belief in a world of night and in the power of dreams clashed with the Jesuits preachments of Christianity and a paradise after death.  This novel is an attempt to show that each of these beliefs inspired in the other fear, hostility, and despair, which later would result in the destruction and abandonment of the Jesuit missions, and the conquest of the Huron people by the Iroquois, their deadly enemy.
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