The ethnography, "Under the Kapok Tree: Identity and Difference In Beng Thought", was in my opinion, a very excellent detailed description of the daily life, rituals, customs, and traditions, and religion of the Beng. The Beng are from a West African forest and have managed to construct a society and live out their daily lives in relation to an interconnected series of meditations on the notions of identity and difference. The ethnography is based on the identity and differences of the Beng. The Beng's morals and religious beliefs are a prime example of this. It will be a very tough task to elaborate most of the details from each chapter. There is so much information that is of great interest, so these topics to come are those ideas and thoughts that stood out the most to me; the reader.
In summary, chapter one, which I personally found to be one of the most interesting of all, was basically placing the Beng world in wider perspective with many other ideas and theories of the world. This is why I am going into several different topics in this chapter, because they interested me so. The Kapok Tree is worshiped in the Beng village. Without this tree, there can be no sexual mating. The beginning of a new village is not complete until the tree is planted. This is a good example of the Beng religion, beliefs, and so on. This group of people from Western Africa worships the earth. Here is a quote from the text which supports my opinion, "The Kapok Tree, for clearly it was the center of social life. With its enormous flying buttress roots providing natural benches and the bright, spreading leaves on its tall trunk giving a wide circle of shade.Not only that, but I noticed that trials, dances, and even sacrifices were held under that enormous tree. How could a singl!.
e tree bear so much social and symbolic weight?" It is seemingly, that the whole and on a daily basis revolves around this tree. The quote is a perfect example of this.