Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I found this book empowering because it allowed me to learn about the history of tattoo and cause me to have new ideas about tattoo. Before reading about tattoo in this book my conception of tattoo was its modern day definition. I also have a new outlook on tattoos and that is a positive one. I have always been open minded about tattoos but our American culture is so much the opposite to that, which makes it hard to have real discussions about tattoos because it can bring so much disapproval to the one who wishes to get a tattoo. I feel like American tattoos are much more focused on shapes and words, whereas tattoos that originated in the Pacific region have many lines and patterns. It was fun discovering this whole new world of tattoo. I liked that the book made connections to prior readings, like, The Cross of Soot and They Who Do Not Grieve. Before this class I was unfamiliar with many of the authors and texts and as I'm reading it's like I'm traveling through the class and as I'm traveling I'm making great connections. The references to the texts we've read in this book reaffirms that I'm traveling through reading. The theme of the tattoo as an object of exchange stuck out to me because I immediately agreed that this is true. When we are talking to someone about a tattoo they have it is like we are exchanging stories. That person will give the background information about it, why they got it, and what it means. And the person who received the story will eventually pass it on to someone and say something like, " I know this person with this tattoo and they have it here and they got it after this." Tattoos are a great way to tell stories because they are so visual. In a way the visual nature of tattoos makes them so universal that almost anyone has an idea of what a particular tattoo may be about. In a world before books tattoo was another way of writing down stories. Other cultures told stories orally, but the Pacific Islanders found something special in the art of tattoo and made it their tradition. It is also good to see tattoo moving in a new direction in American culture. After decades of dissent towards tattoos after a long history of Christian missionaries being against tattoos it is refreshing to see new perspectives coming about for the culture of tattoo. For Pacific Islanders participating in tattoo may have been an expression of their rebellion to the Christian groups who were trying to reform their lifestyle. To this day, there is a stigma that some of the people who get a lot of tattoos are the "I don't care what you think, I'm going to do what I want to do" type. That sense of rebellion that lives on in American culture is rooted in the Pacific culture of tattoo.

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