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Essay/Term paper: Tradition: lost and kept

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Religion

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Tradition: Lost and Kept

Each culture in the world follows its own customs and traditions. These
traditions, however, are sometimes broken to allow a compromise in their society,
or are still kept throughout the culture's existence. In the story The Rain Came,
an African tribe faces a harsh and desolate time because their tribe is
experiencing a severe drought and as a result the livestock is dying from
dehydration, the crops are drying out, and the tribe's Chief is called upon to
remedy the situation. Following their tribe's tradition on asking the gods for
assistance, the Chief discovered the only way to eliminate the drought is by
sacrificing his daughter in a traditional ritual. The events that follow will
show how the tribe's customs will be kept and lost.

Tradition is shown in many parts of the story. The first example of
tradition is evident in the scene where the Chief speaks to the ancestors to
change the sacrifice; he loves his only daughter dearly and does not wish her to
die. Unfortunately, he could not abandon his position as Chief and let the
people die from the drought either. In the tribe, it was customary for the Chief
to have several wives and children. The Chief married five wives and the fifth
one brought him a daughter. Another tradition that was shown in the story was
the explanation of how Oganda (the chief's only daughter) received her name. Her
name meant "beans" because her skin was smooth, very much like the skins of
beans. A last example of tradition is the sacrificing of Oganda. She is
scheduled to be sacrificed to a lake monster in order for the tribal villages to
receive precipitation and water. In modern days, we would check the local
satellite forecast for the area and determine when to conserve water during a
drought. However, in this story, tradition must be followed to allow the people
to live and thrive, or does it?

Revealing the parts of the story where tradition is kept is important in
order to compare with the part where tradition is lost and compromised. The
Chief keeps tradition when he arranges a meeting with all the family members
except Oganda to discuss her sacrifice to better the chances of survival for
everyone else. Oganda believes that her family is discussing her marriage and
her morale and hopes increase until her family informs her of the situation. To
the villagers, it was a great honor to let a woman's daughter to die for her
country. To the Chief, it was a great and sad loss for his only daughter would
be digested in the bowels of the great lake monster. Another pertinent example
of how traditions are kept is how Oganda walks the path to her designated
sacrificial area, the lake. Oganda had the choice of running away and hiding the
rest of her life, but she believed strongly in her tradition and followed the
path her ancestors chose. At that moment, she was a dead person walking.

The section of the story, which involved the tribal traditions being
lost and compromised, is the most interesting part. During the scene where
Oganda thought her family gathered to discuss her marriage, she began thinking
of all the possible suitors. The only person she believed that might become a
good husband was Osinda (who originated from another tribe and he gave her a
gift several years back). However, in the last section of the story, Oganda
walks towards the sacred body of water and just before she reached the watery
shores of the lake, a person in camouflage forces her upon the ground and speaks
of a way to escape the fate her ancestors chose. He explained that he was Osinda
and that the coat of bwombwe will seclude her from the prying eyes of her
ancestors and the wrath of the monsters. She agreed to the plan and both
sprinted far away from the sacred land and avoiding the path of the ancestors.
That evening, rain poured out of the sky gallons by gallons, yet Oganda had not
been sacrificed according to tradition. This was a great example of how the
tribal traditions were completely lost and compromised by Osinda and Oganda.


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