The Spears Of Twilight Summary

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In the world of the Achuar, everyday aspects of life are intermittently connected. Religious, social, and economic institutions are essential parts of the Achuar culture that need to be understood in order to better understand the view they have of the world. Together, these aspects of the Achuar help in making sense of their existence and the world that surrounds them. In “The Spears of Twilight”, Philippe Descola recounts the two years that he lived with the Achuar in Ecuador and Peru. The paradox of culture states that the only thing universal about culture is that it is always particular. Descola provides a fascinating interpretation of the Achuar and deciphers their complex cultural systems and learns what makes them so particular. The Achuar people are located in the Amazon Rainforest along the border of Peru and Ecuador. Spread along the riverbanks the Achuar settlements serve as a home for around nine years until they begin to deteriorate. At this time it becomes necessary for a family group to move and build a new home from nothing. The event of building a new…show more content…
In America, a home and its furnishings can be sold without a second thought. These goods are commonplace and are not seen as an extension of ones self. They may represent what a person is, but they are not viewed as part of the actual person. The Achuar economy thus believes that you cannot trade yourself. In the United States we trade our labor in exchange for money that allows us to buy objects that we need. In Achuar society only things without an individual’s presence can be traded in exchange for equivalent property. Descola discovers that being a part of the trading network allows him to become integrated into Wajari’s kin. Descola writes that Anne Christine and him have become ‘substitute kin’ in trading with Wajari’s extended family; showing once again that social relations and the economy are

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