Many people follow traditions which have been passed on to them by other people without asking where they came from and how they came into being. Some of the traditions people follow can be good and harmless to follow while others can have some concealed detrimental effects on their lives. It has come to the attention of many people that it is important to be more vigilant while following or embracing ideas of a particular tradition because quite a considerate number of individuals have ended in misery after engaging in activities that finally ruin their lives. This essay briefly explains the reason as to why it is important to investigate the origin of the traditions we follow using Colette’s The Hand as the reference.
Colette’s essay is about a woman who, having known her husband for only a month, comes to a discovery while lying on bed with him. The woman stares down at his hand and possibly becomes aware of her fears in the husband’s hand. It is in this hand that she realizes her loathing herself. The hand is used symbolically to represent their marriage, a mistaken and an unworthy excuse for love (Ladimer p235). The marriage oppresses her and forces her to pretend that she is alright and happy while in the real sense she is not. With this, Colette is able to bring out the theme of forced love and the abhorrence that it entails. Colette tends to give an excellent example of people who are willing to live together for sexuality while discarding values of domestic partnership.
Since time in memorial, women have been stereotyped as the homemakers, taking care of the children, clean and cook. They were additionally expected to humble themselves to their husbands and follow the rules set by the husband without questioning (Bronner p14). While some women silently take their positions immediately they get married, others have different ideas and think it is important for both the husband and the wife to be equal. In the essay, the bride reformulates her ideas about the gender roles in matrimony after discovering the ‘hand’ of her husband.
The role of sexes in marriages especially the expected submissive role of women has been a major problem in many societies around the globe (Galeotti p92). It is obvious that the male aptitude contributed to this dominance. Despite the current advances in the society, the role of passivity and submission still exists in the society. It is however hard to perceive why these roles have not been banished yet there is a right to vote and self-expression. This becomes a clear indication that these roles have been inbred in the society with men taking the role to lead and women on the other hand women are expected to follow and maintain peace. There are innumerable reasons as to why women allow males to dominate and one of these reasons is the fact that they feel safe allowing the scenario to continue and others fear to be the first ones to change it (Schnall, Levitz and Linzer p2).
Colette was a renowned feminist in the early 1900s when the female’s right movement was taking root. She campaigned for equity and proved that it was possible after she got admitted to the Goncourt Academy as the first woman. She clearly understood the submissive role of women because she had been a wife several times in her life. Colette uses the description of her characters to bring out the differences between men and women. To reveal the helplessness of the woman, the bride is described as slim and adolescent. On the other hand, the man is described as athletic, handsome and having physical dominance. This shows that the man has not only mental but also physical prowess. This description helps the reader understand that males are dominant in all aspects in marriage. It is a perfect tool that reveals power imbalance between a man and a woman within marriage (Ladimer p235).
Among many reasons that make it unsafe to follow traditions blindly is that some activities, rituals and customs prescribed by some traditions are baseless. These customs end up depriving people their happiness and others make people live a stressful lifestyle as their traditions prescribe. Others like cults capitalize on the people’s ignorance and fear to oppress them. This should raise a warning alarm to people who are so much attached to awkward traditions that they do not understand their origins. They should at least make inquiries from the people who passed on the traditions to them and if found unnecessary, they discard some of them. Following these propositions, it can be generally inferred that it is unwise and insecure to follow traditions blindly.