The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You by Dorothy Bryant
An analysis of the literary work of Bryant illustrating a world different to the world we know.
This paper describes a society different from ours by examining elements known to us – education, religion, economy, politics. It portrays this “other world” as almost perfect. The writer questions this utopian existence.
“In Ata, the education of the society is communal. There is no television or commercialized entertainment to purvey standardized messages of how an individual should live his or her life. In “our world” education is relegated to certain individuals and institutions. As a result, education is imparted in an intellectually homogenous fashion, for better or for worse. Individuals from poorer economic circumstances usually receive a poorer education. Education for all individuals is not tailored to the specific academic needs of every child. When an individual goes home, he or she receives all of the prejudices of his or her family in totality, with little contrasting moral values, except from popular culture. In Ata, because education takes place communally, an individual’s wealth or poverty does not play into his or her learning. Also, different people can teach children different things. The parents and teachers are not solely responsible for the child. The child’s uniqueness as an individual and a learner is respected. This is also true of adults, who have much to learn from children in Ata. Learning is mutual, rather than hierarchical.”
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