Cultural Misunderstandings In Brian Moore's Black Robe

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A person’s culture is their way of life. From a young age, we learn to act within the norms of our culture and to be truly ethnocentric. What if one day someone came into your life and told you everything you were doing your entire life was wrong and stupid? Brian Moore’s Black Robe, tells the story of Laforgue, a Jesuit priest from 17th Century Québec who travels to an unfamiliar land called New France. Laforgue’s goal is to convert Algonquin Native Americans into God fearing Christians. Laforgue faces many cultural misunderstandings with the Natives along his journey; he finds the most difficulties understanding the native’s concept of death, why they value dreams, and overcoming ethnocentrism.
An important misunderstanding found between …show more content…

On both sides, there is a person of power who is ethnocentric. This individual has the power to make decisions for a large number of people and other followers do not question their word. For the natives this individual is Neehatin, he believes that the black robes are stupid and a danger to the community. Also that they are demons who cause trouble and only talk about death. Neehatin feels Laforgue’s presence in the tribe is a danger to them all. When he has a dream about Laforgue walking into his destination alone, he takes the opportunity to leave him behind, “I am saying that unless we dump the black robe tomorrow night, every man, woman and child among us could die” (pg. 127 Moore). Neehatin is trying his best to leave Laforgue behind because he thinks he is a demon and a danger to everyone in the community. For the Jesuits, it is Laforgue. He thinks the savages are stupid and everything they do and believe is silly. During a meal one night, Laforgue confronts Daniel about his sins with Annuka. Daniel defends them and brings up the natives concept of death. While Daniel is describing the native beliefs, Lafarge interrupts with a smile and calls the theory, “childish reasoning” (pg. 102 Moore). This shows Lafarge’s ethnocentrism because instead having an open mind about the natives, he immediately thinks any native concept of death is silly and calls it

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