Summary of “Emotions Have Many Faces: Inuit Lessons”

For this assignment, I have chosen to analyze the journal article Emotions Have Many Faces: Inuit Lessons by Jean L. Briggs. The article details an expedition by Briggs into the the Arctic to locate the most isolated Inuit tribes. The goal of Briggs was to identify how language differs around the world, especially in such an exotic area as the Arctic. To begin her study, Jean was adopted by an Inuit man and women to be their daughter, which helped her transition to and learn the culture of the Inuit. In her study, Briggs wanted to identify how Inuit emotion is expressed and received. One point that Briggs made that I found very interesting was that emotions exist in every culture, but the difference is the way in which they are expressed. In her study of the Inuit, Briggs discovered how the Inuit had associated emotions with with social meanings, values and also actions. For example. Briggs states how the Inuit may associate happiness with someone that is a good person and a safe person, while displaying anger meant you might kill (Briggs 4). Furthermore, the Inuit believed that emotions motivated people’s behaviors. To support this, Briggs uses primary sources from her own accounts as a member of Inuit community. For example, Briggs states that there were multiple Inuit words for the same word in English, this was because the Inuit words had different meanings. The example that Briggs uses is the word love. According to Briggs, the Inuit had two meanings for love. The first meaning referred to biblical love, such as “love thy neighbor” (Briggs 4). The other word for love was meant for someone that was needy or dependent (Briggs 4). Briggs provides this example of a primary source because it shows how the Inuit culture is different from ours. Briggs explains that there is no word for love because if someone truly loves someone in a romantic or caring way, they would just associate them with being a good person, or good in a relationship (Briggs 4). The main lesson that Briggs’s obtained was there was “no universal set of concepts” in regards to emotions. The reading was very useful and impactful to me because it taught me about language. This article showed me how that not only is language different around the world and societies, but more importantly it is different in the way it is expressed and shown.

2 thoughts on “Summary of “Emotions Have Many Faces: Inuit Lessons”

  1. You do identify relevant concepts from the reading, but the bulk of your summary focuses on a minor aspect of the reading (language) and does not address the much more fundamental topic of the reading (emotion). Your summary would benefit from reworking the your overview of the article’s evidence, focusing less on the example of “love” and making sure to cover the second half of the article about how Inuit children learn about emotions.

    Rather than focusing on what you found interesting and informative about the article, a summary should address the question of what this text contributes to an understanding of the subject and how that might be interesting or relevant to a broader audience.

    It would be also helpful to your reader to break the summary into paragraphs to indicate how it’s organized.

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