Aesthetic Realism, Founded by Eli Siegel,
Provides a New Perspective for Anthropology & Sociology

Anthro TECH Site of the Month Award
A Novel Against Racism  
By Arnold Perey
Book 2. Respect & Contempt on a Tropical Island  
Chapter 15. A Story of Years-Ago Famine  

Note: We are now in the central mountains of New Guinea. Gwe is translating for Alan as the young anthropologist is doing field work. At this moment Gwe is bringing to Alan's house in Divanna (Gwe's home village) the young woman he loves and her adoptive father to tell their story. 

      The following day, Monday, Alan was in his house, sitting on the ground with his portable typewriter before him, typing a letter on bond onionskin to his academic sponsor in New York: detailing the ecological investigations in Divanna, when Gwe called from outside and Alan called out, “Come in.”      

      He entered with a timid glow on his face, his broad lips curved up in an involuntary smile.  

      He was followed by Willow, shy and proud in her bearing. And she was followed by an older man, small in stature, with a homely face and dusty looking, but proud.  The three entering at once startled Alan. Gwe was aware of this and he began, “There is a story for you...”  

      “OH,” said the anthropologist, who removed the onionskin from the little white typewriter and inserted a new sheet with carbon paper. He was going to type the story as he heard it. He stood, went to the luggage shelf in back, and gave the man, Garavok, a pinch of honorific salt.   

      Garavok graciously accepted, seated himself, and ate with a formal demonstration of pleasure, taking in air between his lips with a sipping sound three times.  

      Garavok began to speak and Alan heard that Garavok had a cleft palate. As Willow was the person who understood him best, she spoke to Gwe and Gwe translated for Alan. Alan typed in English. Garavok sat, wearing his red feather headband. Around his shoulders a slightly worn net bag hung. His waist was adorned with a darkened cane waistband no longer handsome.  

      He spoke, pausing for Willow to interpret. In precise tones she told his story.  

      “I was young,” he said, “when the drought came. The ground was dry and cracked, and nothing would grow. I saw starving people walk along the paths and people die on the road. My sister and I lived near the river, away from the road. We had a field of sweet potatoes, little ones and just a few. Not enough for us to eat too long, and we hid them with brush. A baby girl was brought to us. She had no mother.  

      “When there is drought we go into the next valley. It is hotter and lower, near the Om River. There are many trees the men do not cut. They eat nuts and hunt wild pigs. If we went, we would have enough to eat, and we would live, but the baby would die. Babies get malaria and die near the Om River. Our relatives went, but we stayed. I remember how the little girl asked for food. One by one we took out the sweet potatoes from our field and mashed them in water and gave them, to the baby to eat. We only ate roots from the taboo vines from the forest and kimkima grass, and what we could find.   

      “We planted a new field, new potatoes began to grow, and we grew the child. After a long time there was rain, the ground grew grass, and the potato vines grow again, big. We lived.”  

      “I was the little girl,” said Willow, and she burst into tears. She said, “I have taken Garavok’s name instead of my family’s. I will always stay with him.”  

      Gwe looked at her and she saw tears in his eyes, of which he seemed proud. Thought Willow, “I like this man.”  

image of book cover

Gwe Is Born   
The Attack  
Five Years Later
Alan Comes to New Guinea  
Equality & Difference 
A Story of Famine

 "Nothing human is alien to me." Terence 

You can order this book directly from Waverly Place Press, or from Google Books or

 "Nothing human is alien to me." Terence 



See: Aesthetic Realism: A New Perspective for Anthropology & Sociology
About Arnold Perey
Aesthetic Realism Foundation
Aesthetic Realism Online Library
Aesthetic Realism Consultations
The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method
Barbara Allen: Aesthetic Realism Consultant, Flutist
What People Say: Links to Aesthetic Realism Resources
John Singer Sargent's Madame X, an Aesthetic Realism Discussion
Friends of Aesthetic Realism--Countering the Lies

Anti-Racism Resources:

See articles by writers whom I esteem. Writing by Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education Ellen Reiss includes her "Difference and Sameness: The Human Question" and "Racism Can End."

Nancy Huntting is represented by her "On Racism & How to End It".

See Capt. Allan Michael's "It Is In Contempt That the Root of Racism Lies" and Alice Bernstein's book, Aesthetic Realism and the Answer to Racism.

Articles by New York teachers who demonstrate how the standard curriculum, K-12, can be used to encourage kindness and oppose prejudice include: "Prejudice Changes to Respect" and "Students Learn, Prejudice Is Defeated!"

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Copyright © 2004-2017 by Arnold Perey