Of Cocks and Men - Summary | Major English Grade XI

Clifford Greertz

Of Cocks and Men

In Bali, men love cocks and cock-fighting. A lot of Balinese symbols refer to cocks. And Balinese men spend a lot of time taking special care of their cocks. They treat cocks very special therefore they give special foods, baths with herbs and their feathers are brushed and cleaned.

In Balinese culture, cocks and cockfighting reflect male sexual identity or social identity. As the child is the image of the father, so the cocks are also regarded as the symbol of the owner’s self. People in Bali reflect their ego or superiority by rearing cocks and winning the cock-fight. Since everything is compared to cock-fights and cocks in Bali, it is significant that fighting cocks receive care and attention equal to that given to human babies.

The Balinese show strong hatred towards any behaviour regarded as animal-like. They do not allow babies to crawl. They think that bestiality is a more horrible crime than incest. When a boy or girl becomes an adolescent, his / her teeth are filled so that they do not look like fangs. Defecation and eating in public are regarded as an immoral activity because of its association with animality; so eating and defecation are done hurriedly and privately. Falling down and clumsiness is also hated for this reason.

Balinese people use cockfights as a way of calming evil demons. They are thought to be a form of sacrifice. Cockfights are held to stop natural disasters and for religious festivals. The fights are very violent and end in the death of one cock. The owner of the winning cock takes the body of the dead cock to his home. An owner who has a losing cock may become mad and curse the gods for his bad luck.

Important Questions Solutions:

1. What taboos do the Balinese have relating to animals? [2058]
Ans. The Balinese show strong hatred towards any behaviour regarded as animal-like. They do not allow babies to crawl. They think that bestiality is more horrible crime than incest. When a boy or girl becomes adolescent, his / her teeth are filled so that they do not look like fangs. Defecation and eating in public is regarded as immoral activity because of its association with animality; so eating and defecation is done hurriedly and privately. Falling down and clumsiness is also hated for this reason.

2. Why is it significant that fighting cocks receive special care and attention equal to that given to human babies? [2060/2062]
Ans. In Balinese culture, cocks and cockfighting reflect male sexual identity or social identity. As the child is the image of the father, so the cocks are also regarded as the symbol of owner’s self. People in Bali reflect their ego or superiority by rearing cocks and winning the cock-fight. Since everything is compared to cock-fights and cocks in Bali, it is significant that fighting cocks receive care and attention equal to that given to human babies.

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