Monday, September 20, 2010

Mumbo Jumbo

When reading Mumbo Jumbo I immediately realized that its title is a representation of what the characters, especially PaPa LaBas, are doing when telling their beliefs and views in the stories. One thing that I found interesting is the time frame of this book. It takes place during the 1920's, during the Harlem Renaissance, a period when black culture was new and blacks were trying many different things in order to find and establish themselves. Seeing as this era was known for creating things such as jazz, ragtime, and Broadway, it would seem appropriate for the author to start here. The author cleverly intersects a made up religious movement or practice with the ideas of this era to lure the reader in and essentially get them tangled between all the information or assumed facts of the story. I believe this is true about the book because after reading the first ten pages I had to pause from reading and ask myself; what he the author's point and what is he trying to get across? I came to the conclusion that the characters in the book really were not sure of what they were discussing therefore it made it harder for the reader to understand. The story is all about talk; meaning what people should believe and what they should be doing but to me it has no meaning behind it, hints the title Mumbo Jumbo!

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Reed's definition of Mumbo Jumbo changes how I look at this term. I've always used the term to describe gibberish useless bull. I didn't know of the African origins and certainly of the religious take of mumbo jumbo. What I find interesting is the supernatural or religious aspects and even how these "meaningless" rituals can affect so many so strongly whether placebo or true.