English literature is presented by numerous writers and poets, which present their pieces of work on different topics and of various styles. Those books, that describe certain periods in history are of greater interest among the readers, as they give complete imagination of the period that is known only from history.
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Very often while reading some kind of book we are to imagine ourselves as the characters of this book in order to experience some events described by the author. I devoted this paper to my own experience of being a member of the Mundurucu tribes, which inhabited Amazon territories. I would like to pay attention to the fact that these tribes existed in the XX century which is why I did not see any traces of savagery in these surroundings.
For me, it was really interesting and pleasant to become a part of this community. You even can not imagine what it means to live among those independent women in the atmosphere of freedom, common interests, which really unite all the members of this society. Despite the fact that Mundurucu women consider themselves completely independent, there is not any shade of hate for men or any kind of extreme supremacy.
Being a member of this community I find a lot of interesting things, which helped me to understand and experience some aspects of Mundurucu life. Let me share my viewpoints with you. First of all, I would like to tell you about the place of living that is our houses. Men have a separate house, where women have no right to live. But still, women have the right to bring food to the men’s house at the appointed time. In this way, women avoid any kind of dependence upon men, despite the fact that most women and men were members of one family. There is no possession of fish or of privileges to hunting or fishing conditions.
In our community, these houses were built for common living and are considered as the common belongings of their residents. Women, as well, live in separate houses with closed access for men. In every house, women have small kerosene lamps, which radiate a sparkling glow over the surroundings, as an addition to the fire’s flames.
One more significant feature of our society is the division of labor. Women of our community became much stronger and more independent, as now they enjoy the same rights as men. The only difference is that they are not strong enough to perform some heavy work, which is done by men. It concerned such activities as hunting, for example. “During the time when the men were under the rule of the women, there was the almost complete inversion of sex roles, except, of course, in hunting. The men carried water and firewood and made manioc cakes…” (Murphy 117). I cite the example from the book in order to support my point of view.
Due to natural patience and endurance women are now able to cope with any type of work and difficulty. The next aspect that I would like to tell about is the attitude of Mundurucu women to marriage. ” Their goal, of course, was the conversion of the Indians, but they understood quite well religion has strong social bases. They sought to reinforce the nuclear family through the imposition of the marriage” (Murphy 210).
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The idea of family is presented in the community as the necessity for generation continuation, considering that this is the only role that can be performed by men. Our women denied the idea of family and marriage as unity with men, as marriage can limit freedom and make women dependent upon men again, turning them to their former initial position. As for the question of religion, I should admit that there were not any restrictions or limits in this area. Everybody was free to have their own beliefs and stick to their particular religious points of view. The present-day religion of the Mundurucu society revolves mainly around the issues of evil, sickness, fatality and animus. There were no churches or clergy in our community. Religion in our community is not a compulsory issue.
So, in general, Mundurucu women consider themselves as interior members of the community, placing themselves in the leading positions of their society. While living in the community I realized that man and the world of nature has so great unity and it is very important to use this unity correctly.
Murphy Yolanda, Robert Murphy. Women of the Forest. Columbia: Columbia University Press, 2004.