ABSTRACT

Wikan presents a thesis that shame is not a true opposite of honor. She begins her argument with a refutation of previous scholarship: “‘Shame’ is neither archaic nor poetic, but simply the reverse side of the coin-or so the literature would have one believe. . . . it is not self-evident that honour is the binary opposite of shame.”2 Her premise is that honor is a word used by and for elites and that shame is a word that impacts the daily lives of the masses. Her lexical approach is dominated by an emphasis on the claim that quantity of usage equates to social importance. Stewart agrees with Wikan, but for a diff erent reason, stating, “Shame is generally looked upon as an emotion, whereas honor is not an emotion, and an emotion can scarcely be the exact opposite of something that is not an emotion. The obvious choice for an opposite of shame is pride.”3