Margaret Mead’s A Day in Samoa: Summary
Writer: Margaret Mead (1901-1978)
The present essay “A Day in Samoa” was written by Margaret Mead. She was born in 1901 in Pennsylvania, USA. She was well known cultural anthropologist who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s. She stayed in Samoa for an anthropological research.
In the present essay Mead vividly portraits the Samoan life. It generally describes how the people prepare for their day and what kind of essential activities they do. The Samoan society is traditional in structure. Few professional people engage themselves in their profession while others are prescribed with certain roles according to gender and age. The older men set off upon their more lonely occupations. Women carry piles of washing to the sea. The older girls go fishing on the reef. Nursing mothers sit and gossip with one another.
Old men sit apart, unceasingly twisting palm husk on their bare thighs and muttering old tales under their breath. The carpenters begin work on the new house. Women at home have their own household works. They take care of the children. Cooking, sweeping and gossiping are part of them. The women cook yams, bananas, taro etc. People use banana leaf to shade the sun heat and the rain.
After supper the old people and the little children are bundled off to bed. If the young people have guests, the front of the house is yielded to them. In Samoa, day is the time for the council of old men and the labours of youth while night is the time for lighter things.
In a nutshell, this essay, just describes the basic everyday life of a village of Samoans. It is a record of their one day actions. Through this record, the essayist provides a lot of information about the community to the readers.