Renato Resaldo's Renato Resaldo's Story Grief And A Headhunter's Rage

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Renato Resaldo's Renato Resaldo's story Grief and a Headhunter's Rage

Renato Resaldo's Renato Resaldo's story Grief and a Headhunter's Rage

Rosaldo's experience with personal bereavement left him with a sense of what despair and rage could conjure up in the human being. Wishing for the Ilongot solution himself, Rosaldo finally realized that the Ilongot were not as different as he had originally thought. The emotional force Rosaldo had felt has the same core as the force that pushed the older tribesman into a headhunting raid. Rosaldo's comparison of his solution of the imagination and the ritualistic headhunting had rage as the common seed.

Rosaldo's initial attempts to find what drives the older Ilongot men to headhunt using traditional ethnographic methods failed. Renato and Michelle Rosaldo played a tape of a headhunting celebration five years prior, evoking great emotion from the crowd of Ilongot because the celebrator on the tape had already been deceased and headhunting was now forbidden. "The song pulls at us, drags our hearts, it makes us think of our dead uncle...Leave off now, isn't that enough? even I, a woman, cannot stand the way it feels inside my heart...At the time I could only feel apprehensive and diffusely sense the force of the emotions experienced...(473-474)." Rosaldo's emotional detachment from the man speaking on the tape recorder prevents him with identifying with the Ilongot tribesmen. This lack of emotional connection is understandable, as Rosaldo himself was obviously not as close to the man practicing the ceremony as his family. This understanding of the rage and sorrow that the Ilongot members had felt during the listening is a crucial element of how the dynamic between bereavement and sorrow function.

Rosaldo understood that his analysis could easily be brought under fire due to the tying in of personal experiences during his ethnography of the Ilongot culture. Rosaldo concurs that there is potential for risk by saying, "Introducing myself into this account requires a certain hesitation both because of the discipline's taboo and because of its increasingly frequent violation by essays laced with trendy amalgams of continental philosophy and autobiographical snippets (475)." The possibility for an anthropologist who brings personal experience into an analysis of a foreign culture to become too self absorbed is always possible. Rosaldo avoids this frequent ethnographic infringement by separating self righteousness from applying personal experiences for comparison in anthropology. Rosaldo claims that his and all interpretations are provisional, stating that "they are made by positioned subjects who are prepared to know certain things and not others (476)," which presents that he only began to fathom the force of what the Ilongot's had been describing as the anger held because of bereavement.

She had not suffered much. Her death came and went quickly. Michelle was dead, gone forever at the blink of an eye. As her husband looked over her body at the bottom of a 65 foot sheer precipice, many ideas and emotions fluttered in his mind. Renato Rosaldo describes his experience at the site of the fatal accident, overlooking the ...
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