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Describe the reconciliation described in Roots.

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brainteez | Valedictorian

Posted June 23, 2012 at 4:28 AM via web

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Describe the reconciliation described in Roots.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 31, 2012 at 8:42 AM (Answer #1)

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The ultimate, and most moving, reconciliation that occurs in this powerful book of one man's discovery of his past is when the narrator himself goes to Africa to rediscover his lost tribe. When he gets there, and hears how he is related to everybody around him and of his forefather, he is surprised when suddenly everybody forms a circle around him and chant together. It is only a year later that the narrator discovers the true meaning of this ceremony, when Dr. Bruner tells him of its significance:

You didn't know you were participating in one of the oldest ceremonies of humankind, called "The laying on of hands"! In their way, they were telling you "Through this flesh, which is us, we are you, and you are us!"

For the author, this is an incredibly important moment, as he finally is reconciled to his identity and his past. In many ways, the entire text is a search for his "roots," as the title suggests, and the laying on of hands ceremony represents the culmination of that search, as he is re-incorporated once again into his tribal roots, finds his identity and his past. Alex thus is reconciled to his own self and his own past through this highly symbolic ceremony.

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