Weeds, Dirt, Disgust Essay, Research Paper
People think of many different things when the words ?dirt,? and ?weeds,? are brought into discussions. What do you think of when you hear the word ?dirt?? Black soil? How about ?weeds?? A green pest that grows in the dirt? According to Mary Douglas and Frieda Knobloch, these words are broken down into entirely different meanings than what is stated above. Other concepts besides these that will be discussed are the ?grotesque? and ?disgust.? In the following essay, the concepts of ?dirt,? the ?grotesque,? and ?disgust,? will be used to analyze Frieda Knobloch?s chapter of ?Weeds.? All of these topics are interrelated.
The first metaphorical word to be looked at is dirt. Dirt is essentially disorder, or chaos, and it exists in the eye of the beholder. In my opinion, someone who considers an object to be junk, may as well be the object of another person?s treasure. The symbolism of dirt exists in pollution, disease, and abnormalities. It may also symbolize unsanitary places, incest, impurity, or adultery. Dirt is ?matter out of place.? For example, ?shoes are not dirty in themselves, but it is dirty to place them on the dining table (1).? All in all, dirt depends on certain conditions, and can be physical, opinionated, or emotional. This brings us to the concept of disgust.
Disgust doesn?t have a set time or place. It is not only physical, but also a feeling or an act; a lot like dirt. ?This word conjures up biblical fulmination against sodomy and other things that disgusted the God of the Old Testament (2).? Disgust is racism and sexism. It is taste, touch, smell, and even births, deaths, decay, and deformity. These are our fears, and our common fears are dirt.
Deformity also describes the grotesque. The grotesque has to do mostly with the nose and mouth. It is the overexaggeration of human characteristics that is sometimes used to make fun of people with certain qualities or abnormalities. This element of the abnormal also brings us back to the conception of dirt, ?something out of place.? The grotesque is also concerned with ?looking for that which protrudes form the body (3).? This also relates back to dirt. For example, blowing one?s nose in itself is not dirty, but looking at the contents which came out (the grotesque) in the tissue is. All of the above that has been discussed and analyzed ties into Frieda Knobloch?s chapter of ?Weeds.?
When we think of weeds, we think of plants growing wild. Weeds have no set time or place, as does disgust. Weeds are ?matter-out-of-place,? so essentially, weeds are dirt. A weed, which can be imposing on a given state, could be an example of immigrants or fieldworkers. Immigrants are minorities, and for the majority, people want them to stay on the land in which they first walked. Other people would simply like to ?naturalize and culturalize them, erasing his or her cultural identity (4).? In either case, agriculture divides the ?plant? world into weeds and not-weeds, and prescribes a program of exclusion for the ?weeds (5).? Grotesque would come into place here, describing ?a body as a whole,? all cultures coming into one.
Weeds overrun and undermine the whole project (6).? Relating to society, people often do not agree with the government. Taxes are weeds and the government is a weed. Many people are described as having beliefs in the theory of ?all-for-one.? They think the government is too controlling, and it has conspiracies. Sara Stein notes, ?weeds intend to stay (7).? As does the government. This also has a place in dirt, which is that it contains a matter of opinion, for many. Opinions may also be ?out of place.?
Yet another analogy for a weed is the big bad wolf. And with his overdeveloped eyes, ears, and mouth, he is also an example of the grotesque. After all, he eats the grandmother (8). To consume is to be grotesque. Therefore, it will always exist.
How about tobacco companies? As for some, people think they are, in our society ?matter-out-of-place? with their cancer causing cigarettes. Above all, they target kids. That is definitely dirt. Most people would agree that they could live without this. As for the addicts, they may have an opposite opinion. The ?not-weeds? (people against the tobacco companies) think these companies would ?take over the world? if people (the young and old tobacco addicts) prepared its habitat well enough (9).?
As you can see, weeds have innumerous places to grow in our culture and society. Also, it is understood how dirt, disgust, and the grotesque relate to weeds. We also can see these concepts work together to make bodies of explanations for themselves. In any case of situations, dirt is the base for all which grows. To follow, dirt and weeds will always exist. The grotesque and disgust simply help it along the way. We see examples of these concepts everyday. They are displayed to our children, and our elders on an
almost constant level. Situations that involve dirt and weeds are an ongoing process, like the food chain, or recycling. In conclusion, we can say it is constant in our circle of life.