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Analysis of Michel de Montaigne’s essays “Of Cannibals” and “Of Men”

Title Date Name Course Analysis of Michael de Montaigne’s Essays “Of Cannibals” and “Of Men” In the “Of Cannibals” Montaigne views the self-centred European belief of the western culture differently from people who believe it is more superior to any other culture. His interaction with the new world has made him observe that the cannibals live peacefully and associate well with nature whereby they use skills and also have a good religion and one of the best government structures. Montaigne says that the cannibals do not have words to lie or envy other practices. Montaigne says that people generally refer barbarism to that what is not according to his usage and the only way one can obtain the truth is by the norms and ways of the country they live in. His interaction with the people of the outside world made him see that the cannibals do not have wise savages. They were peaceful and generous people. They have a sense of civilization in art and since they were ignorant and not learned the European took advantage through teaching them to be good Christians. Compare a country where people are more concerned about drilling oil so that one can go to work driving a fuel guzzler to a country where people go to work riding a bicycle and live peacefully and are concerned about one another welfare. In such countries horses and coaches turned into oil and vehicles respectively. Montaigne may not have found a solution to this but he at least found the factor that contributes to it. Works Cited Montaigne Michel de. “Of Coaches.” M. Montaigne Essays(1991): 330-50. Certeau Michel de. “Montaigne’s ‘Of Cannibals’: The Savage ‘I’.” Heterologies: Discourse on the Other (1986): 67-79. Johnson Norris Brock. “Cannibals and culture: The anthropology of Michel de Montaigne.” Dialectical Anthropology 18.2 (1993): 153-176.
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Essay question is “For Montaigne, what does contact with the people of the New World mean for Europeans? Put differently, what do the accounts that he reads of the indigenous inhabitants of the New World make him think about these peoples and, in turn, about the civilizational tradition (European) to which he belongs.” Must have textual evidence. Also address what Montaigne says about barbarism.

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