Tell My Horse is a fieldwork related to anthropology in Haiti in the year of 1936-37, which is narrated by Zora Neale Hurston. It is a first-hand description of the strange mysteries and revulsion of voodoo. The author’s personal experiences and views are portrayed with a skillful masterpiece in this book. Indeed, the book is a kind of travel-related experience, which has become an authentic picture of rituals, practices, and fallacies of grand cultural significance. The three sections in this book present the material on Jamaica, the politics and personalities of Haiti, and Voodoo practices in Haiti. In general, the presentment of the book is an intuitive and jumbled work.
The first two sections of the book deal with the history and politics of the islands whereas folklore and literature would have been better issue of this narration. According to Alain Locke, Tell My Horse is not an “anthropological gossip” because it concerns the social, religious, and political situation of that particular area. Hurston impressively explains voodoo's seductive rule, “It is the old, old, mysticism of the world in African terms. Voodoo is a religion of creation and life.”
In the account of that particular area, voodoo life becomes the significant part of the historical evaluation. This writing presents an important subject matter of the history of Haiti and Jamaica and highlights the religious faiths, rituals, and performances of the local people. Most part of the book consists of historical review that molds the voodoo society. According to Hurston, Haiti is predominant with zombie legends where anybody can inform both latest and ancient stories. Generally, the rich try to avoid those mythological stories other than the poor natives who are quite sincere of telling the stories as factual.
In collecting stories, the author’s experience was significant since she stayed with many houngans observing various ceremonies practically. Furthermore, the book initiates to prove that the religious conviction is a mixture of Christian along with African origin with some native improvement and language. After the recitation of Catholic litany, the litany of voodoo deities that are called loas is recited, as well. On the other hand, the voodoo gods were divided into two parts. One of them is Radaand the other is Petros who are good and evil accordingly. The author states that the bocors and houngans who are responsible for the raising are believed to be evil. Normally, there are three reasons of raising the deceased. Firstly, those are the slaves related to extremely hard work. Hundreds of tales are exposed by their relatives about the departed that they are working at dock yards. The responsible authorities are caught up and the employees have been motivated whereas the foremen do not have any idea about the relatives. The second reason in raising somebody is to obtain vengeance. At the end, people who demanded a support from the loa (god) require to give that errand with the sufferers who will be raised and endow with into loa's work. The name of the ritual is “Ba Moun” or gives man ceremony. Since the victims have to be someone recognized and appreciated by the defaulter, normally relatives, this is particularly uncomforting. The debt is to be paid annually, and it is possible for natives to present the debtor's existence. Only the desperate man can contract for this activity.
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It is a questioning thing to be women in the Caribbean. The views towards their women are the matter of question. A zombie patient’s description is the most thrilling in this regard; thus, the author decided to examine the fact. The lady was found unclad by itinerant on a road in the year of 1936. Hurston states that the United States is a large collection of small nations, each having its own ways, and that is right. Nevertheless, the thing that binds them all together is the way they look at women, and that is right, as well. However, the lady left for a farmhouse declaring that her father was the owner of the farmhouse. The lady was the owner’s sister and the end able to recognized the lady. Hurston had a meeting with the lady and took pictures stating, “the doctor forcibly uncovered her and held her so I could take her face. And the sight was dreadful. The eyelids were white all around the eyes as if they had been burned with acid.”
This statement is the good evidence of identifying women’s situation in the Caribbean region. According to Hurston, the old African custom of polygamy is rampant down there. There are several other stories were informed in her writing. The conversational and fluid type of writing made the book a different one. The writer disclosed several agenda in the book. Indeed, when justifying all the sides of this work, it can be stated without any hesitation that the book is successful for all the audiences. The author tried to reveal that the male-female relationships were complex in that country. The male person always sought to have dumb wife, which means a kind of wife who would never oppose her husband. The religion was somewhat interesting because it was a mixture of Christian and local ritual practices. Since people of that area were divided into several groups and races, the social stratification became a big question. The author herself stayed in that particular area to collect data to complete her composition. The good evidence in this book is the position of the woman. The good evidence is the situation of the lady who dies after burning her face with acid. The author herself is the eyewitness of the fact. Hence any reader can be convinced by the tragic condition of the women of that society. The main weakness of this composition is extraneous nature of her writing. The author failed to answer how the society can be freed from the very complicated situation.
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