Local Customs and Traditions in the US Essay

In the story “The Way of the Machete” by Martin A. Ramos, the concept of local customs and traditions, providing a significant backdrop to the story, can be seen in the duel between Scipo Armenteros and Josué. Local customs in this particular case manifest themselves through the belief of defending your personal honor with your life. Such an act greatly differs from what you would normally see in countries such as the U.S. where local customs are far different.

This difference in customs impacting behavior can be seen in the story “My Mother, the Crazy African” wherein Lin is ashamed of her mother who is thoroughly immersed in her Nigerian culture and background despite being in the U.S. From another perspective, the story “Growing My Hair Again” by Chika Unigwe showcases how the cultural tradition in Nigeria of shaving one’s head in respect after one’s husband has died clashes significantly with how Nneka (the wife) viewed her husband who had abused her continuously. From this perspective, it can be seen that local customs and traditions can often be utilized as significant plot devices within a story.

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The story “Leng Lui is for Pretty Lady” by Elaine Chiew showcases an interesting villain in the form of Mrs. Kong. This character is interesting, despite the fact that she is portrayed as the potential future antagonist in the story, since in the end she saves Alina. Such an interesting villain character is also embodied by Scipo Armenteros from “The Way of the Machete” since his brash ways, “in your face” attitude and general demeanor makes him far more interesting than rather tame, calm and otherwise uninteresting side characters in the story.

While not necessarily a villain character, Abdul Chacha from Ishwari’s children can be considered a somewhat amusing “bad” character in that his initial rudeness when he was presented and immediately squashed by his wife. This was a humorous scene which demonstrated that even the most haughty of men had a weakness.

The depiction of conflict between children and adults often takes a myriad of forms, whether positive or negative in nature, and often creates interesting stories as a result. For instance, in the story “The Rich People’s School” we see that Sylvia does not want to attend the school because she feels that she does not fit in and is in conflict with her grandmother because of it. In the end though, she is convinced by her grandmother that going to a good school is still better than the alternative.

The concept of adult and child conflict in the case of “Air Mail” is a lot more subtle in that the teacher in the story apparently stopped teaching because he saw no point in it. From this perspective, it can be stated that the conflict was his lack of belief in the future generation. On the other hand, the conflict in the story “Honor of a Woman” is more straightforward in that the reason behind the conflict is due to the daughter staying out late.

In the story “Growing My Hair Again” we see the perspective of Nneka who is initially trying to defy tradition due to the sheer amount of abuse she received. In the case of the story “Porcelain” the three female protagonists, Marion and her three aunts, showcase their ability to live independently from men and to manage well enough on their own. In the case of “Kelemo’s Woman” we see the character or Irolia attempting to be independent from Kelemo, the man she is in a relationship with, since she has become disenfranchised with the way they have lived. What these stories reveal is the strength of female protagonists and how the characterization of women being weak is far from true.

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