Book Report Tongan Villages to American Suburbs written by author and Anthropologist Cathy A. Small

Essay by skampfUniversity, Bachelor's March 2005

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From Tongan Villages to American Suburbs written by author and Anthropologist Cathy A. Small begins in 1981 with a field trip to Tonga. Small's initial study was the difference between Western and Tongan ways. The study transforms into the history and migration of a South Pacific Island kingdom named Tonga.

In the first year of her study, 1981, she seeks advise from a volunteer she meets in town. The volunteer offers some wise advise as well as some prejudices of her own beliefs. Small was told never tell them you are Jewish, attend church every Sunday, and never lend anything out, because you will not get it back. Small follows only one piece of advise, she never told them she was Jewish.

The Tongan people held very strong prejudices against the Jews since the first missionaries in the early 19th century. They believed that Jews were the killers of Christ, they had horns, and that they keep everything to themselves.

Therefore Small would have to lie about her religion if she was to get an accurate ethnography of the Tongan people. This was not the time to dispute their prejudices. I was impressed by Small's finally telling Malia the truth about her religion. Malia seemed surprised that Small was not selfish, dispelling everything that she had been told about Jewish people. Although Malia accepted Small, she felt the rest of the village would not understand, and that Small was to keep her being Jewish to herself. This lead me to believe that Malia thought that Small was an exception, not most Jewish people. When she finally did tell an important guest in the household that she was half Jewish, I was not sure whether she was telling the truth or half truth. If it was true that her father...