TheMen and the Dogs Reading Response
Themen and the dogs bySebastian Junger explore the importance and interesting aspects oftribal life compared to the influences of contemporary life. Jungerwrites about the white settlers captured by the native Indians andpreferred to stay in the tribes instead of going back to the whitecivilization. The story is ironical against the common belief thathappiness is brought by material possessions.
Iagree with Junger that cultural interactions present people withvarious choices on how to live. Junger explores how human happinessdecreased with the rise of agriculture. An increase in humanpopulation puts stress on natural resources and loss of huntingforests. As a result, people opted to grow crops and keep animals forsurvival. Agriculture tied people to one place and deprived them ofliberty of movement. Although settled agriculture provides foodsufficiency and stability compared to nomadic life, the whites felt aloss of freedom and happiness. The Whites perceived the Indians to behappier and ironically, American men joined Indian communities,fought alongside them, married, and emulated their culture“Americans-mostly men-wound up joining Indian society rather thanstaying in their own” (Junger 1).
Iagree with Junger that the unity among people in the early tribes wasworth emulating. Despite the difficult life and lack of opportunitiesdue to white suppression, the tribes continued to live in solidarity.I feel that there is an excessive cultural gap between the civilizedlife and the nascent tribal life of the native Indians. “ When anIndian child has been brought up among us, taught our language andhabituated to our customs…if he goes to see his relations, and makeone Indian ramble with them, there is no persuading him ever toreturn” (Junger 1). I feel the Indian unity might have threatenedthe existence of the white American culture, resulting in the massivekillings of Indians in the name of civilization. However, I believethat people can still unite in this century and work towardsachieving a common goal. In my opinion, the current negative forcesof racial and individualism wars have alienated and weakens oursociety.
Ilove the way Junger connects the setting of the story with theancient history dating back to 1600. He narrates the experiences ofAmericans during pre-independence and gradually analyses modern life.I agree with Junger that the contemporary western life is notappealing despite the comforts and luxuries of technology andcivilization (Junger 6). It is ironical that people living in harshclimatic areas like the Kalahari work for approximately twelve hoursyet they are comfortable, while city dwellers work round the clock tomake ends meet. I believe that the present individualistic lifehinders unity for the benefit of all. Currently, societies assert theimportance of extrinsic values that have resulted in increased mentalissues despite increased wealth and medical developments. I agreewith Junger that contrary to the mothers in early history, whomaintained skin-to-skin contact with their little ones, contemporaryones have alienated themselves from their babies by sleeping indifferent rooms (8). As a result, children find comfort in dolls andstuffed animals instead of bonding with their parents.
Inconclusion, the contemporary society should emulate the model lifeand culture of the native Indians on restoring natural rights andincreasing wealth and happiness in life.
JungerSebastian “The Men and the Dogs.” Tribe:On Homecoming and Belonging.New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing, 2016. Print.