In the “Introduction” of Ellis’ text, Tattooing The World, she explains that tattoo—in its original context-- was often, “used to indicate a casting out”(18). In keeping with this theme of “casting out”, Ellis refers to James F. O’Connell, “the first man to display his tattoos in the United States”(1) and discusses the perception held by most Americans of his indigenously derived and very permanent body art. By removing his tattoos from their native context—a context in which they are widely accepted and understood, O’Connell faces public scrutiny. Interestingly, the scrutiny that O’Connell experiences in the United States is very similar to that of the inter-cultural practices of “casting out” that existed at the time of tattoo’s origins. Ellis writes: “Outside of its home contexts, tattoo may create similar casting out, removing the bearer from the accepted bounds of a differing community”(18). O’Connell describes the American perception of his tattoos as being “inverted”—that is, he feels that his tattoos are being seen as a mark of shame or deficiency instead of being seen as a badge of courage or strength; however, O’Connell explains that this perception only goes as far as he allows it to. Ellis explains that O’Connell realigns this perspective (the perspective that views his tattoos in a negative light) by, “[redefining] them”(18). More specifically, he “determines the personal or performative interpretations by choosing how to reveal and define his tattoos;”(3) O’Connell works to rename his tattoos—a process that actually deepens the meaning of his tattoos, while also awarding them with greater significance. Ellis later adds that it is the United States’ definition of tattoo that allows O’Connell this ability and privilege to assign personal meaning to his tattoos. Specifically, here in the United States tattoos and their subsequent designs are “symbolic” in nature and are therefore reserved to convey meaning “only by the few or the one”(197). Thus tattoos no longer solely function to signify social status or to hold greater cultural value, but rather tattoos reflect a design that is specific to the individual. In addition, “the mark”(197) or tattoo that once indicated exile or shame, no longer “indicates” something bad, but rather, “whatever the bearer says it does”(197). This cultural shift in perception deviates from the societal and communal implications of the past, and instead replaces them with a more individualistic approach to defining tattoo. This new approach allows the bearers of this art to rename their tattoos in whichever way they like: “[your tattoos] mean what [you] [say] they mean”(3). Ellis argues that despite this point of contention between both beliefs (culturally imposed meaning vs. individually assigned meaning of tattoo) that, “these apparently contrary meanings may exist at the same time and in the same place”(31).