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The Nuer

3 Pages 644 Words

In The Nuer E. E. Evans-Pritchard relays to the reader a portion of “culture”. His words are, not only, reflective of the times, but also of the man. The audience can see where Pritchard falters and adds opinions that do not reflect neutrality. In addition, the style the author uses is showy and elaborate. While Pritchard does attempt not to show bias or opinion, I will illustrate where he does in The Nuer. I will also show the effect of that language on the perception the reader has of the Nuer.
The introduction to The Nuer is our first taste of the task that Pritchard was given. The beginning of the book reads like a manual. This is because the purpose of the book was to inform the English on the Nuer. The current political situation intrigued the governments at the time, and Pritchard served as an anthropologist and an informant. The preface and introduction are littered with references to officials and “friends” of Pritchard. While he does thank many he adds, “When the Government of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan asked me to make a study of the Nuer I accepted after hesitation with misgivings.” (7). He does realize the weight that his study will have, as well as, the reaction that he will get from the Nuer people.
While the choice of wording that he uses is far from simple, the reason for it is. The language that is used gives the impression of scientific methodologies. Science is seen as uncorrupted by human emotion and opinion. While his opinions do slip into his work, the general feeling is that his study is professionally done and excludes bias. This style and use of language was convincing enough to the readers of the time.
However, Evans-Pritchard fails to finish writing his work completely devoid of opinion. The first insight into Pritchard’s opinion of the Nuer is in the Introductory;
Their country and character are alike intractable and what little I had previously seen of them convinced me that I would fail to ...

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