Good and Bad differs with context

As Edward T. Hall states in the selection, “The Anthropology of Manners,” that good manners in one circumstance may be bad in another condition. It depends on the place and the kind of people you are dealing with. He illustrates it very vividly telling an incident of an Arab diplomat. When the ambassador attends a feast in the United States, he refuses the first time what he was offered in the meal, but later he is not offered the dish. Therefore, he feels so hungry that he asks a friend to go get eating stuffs. He did so because in an Arab country, refusing the offered dish for several times is a crucial part of manners; however in the United States, once you refuse the proffered dish, you are not offered again. Here Hall clearly suggests us that we should be very wary about our manners and demeanors when we are in new places and new situations.


The similar differences can be noticed among people in the same country also. In Nepal, respecting other people is one of the most important manners. If someone kicks another person even unintentionally, the former person is regarded to be very disdainful. Therefore, he or she either bows or touches the person and again touches his or her forehead to show apology and respect. However, the trend of this form of showing respect also varies from community to community. For instance, In Newari societies, whoever kicks another person should touch that person and again touch their forehead to show respect. There is not any age factor or gender factor that we have to follow. However, in Brahman communities, the trend is totally different. According to their belief, elder ones should not bow to younger ones, and men should not bow to women. Therefore, the elderly people and men do not follow the trend even if they kick another person. To a surprise, they even kick other people intentionally thinking they are superior. However, women and younger children are bound to follow the tradition. Hence, if a Brahman person has to deal with a Newar person, they have to know and acknowledge each other’s tradition to have a good rapport with one another.

About kalpana23
I am a student.

One Response to Good and Bad differs with context

  1. ztandee says:

    Hello Kalpana,

    Now I know why you guys bow, touch the particular person, and then touch your own forehead-it’s a sign of respect, eh? Thank you for letting us know, I really appreciate it. And i think it’s wonderful how you guys respect your companion or associates, no matter how old they are. 🙂

    Moreover, I support you, people should be aware of their friends’ manners and traditions as well if they want to have a good association with each other.

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