Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony Essay Sample

August 6, 2017 Cultural

Tayo. the chief character in the narrative. has ever maintained a belief in the Native American traditions although he was educated in white schools. Wholly witting of the societal worlds environing Native American life inside and outside the reserve — and Native American engagement in World War II — Tayo is able to do usage of his dual consciousness ( of white and Native American life ) to mend himself and his community. Tayo represents the convergence of Native American and white civilizations. both present in his line of descent. and in his experience. which brings him from the reserve. to the US ground forces. to the Philippines. to a Veteran’s Hospital. and back to the reserve. Bearing the marks of the cultural commixture in his green eyes frequently makes Tayo digest the impact of a whole society’s confusion at the ways in which the universe is germinating. Tayo encounters great trouble in negociating his assorted individuality and experience particularly since he ne’er knew his male parent and was abandoned by his female parent at the age of four. This is aggravated by his Auntie who raises him with the changeless reminder of his difference. Like most of his equals. Tayo is educated in white-run schools.

However. unlike his friends. he frequently finds the white ways of life flawed and continues to esteem and to believe in the Native American traditions he learns from his household. This realisation led to his womb-to-tomb despair to belong in his household and his community. along with his deep-rooted belief in the power of the old traditions. It besides allows Tayo to take up the challenge offered by Betonie and to set about the completion of the ceremonial. which can bring around both himself and his people. Although he frequently falters along the way. Tayo’s credence of the Native American mythical universe allows him to profit from the assistance of accidents. animate beings. liquors. and the elements.

One of the most dominant characteristics of Silko’sCeremonyis the mode in which Silko introduces important subjects and issues into the text without explicitly saying them. By weaving in merely a few cardinal words and phrases into a individual transition she is able to capture the kernel of an full subject. This paper aims to demo how Silko weaves tradition and worldviews inCeremonyin order to go through priceless messages across the boundaries of civilization by analyzing the subjects and texts in the narrative.

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Round and Non-linear Structure

“Ts’its’tsi’nako. Thought-Woman.

is sitting in her room

and whatever she thinks about


She thought of her sisters.

Nau’ts’ityi and I’tcts’ity’i.

and together they created the Universe

this universe

and the four universes below.

Thought-Woman. the spider.

named things and

as she named them

they appeared.

She is sitting in her room

thought of a narrative now

I’m stating you the narrative

she is thinking” ( Silko 1 ) .

This verse form or song serves its intents. Foremost. it elucidates the construct of clip in Native American looks. where the yesteryear. nowadays and hereafter are interweaved and identical. Second. it reveals Silko’s novel as a representation of the human memory. where thoughts are non regarded and conjured in a methodical. orderly mode but materialize from random connexions and motive. Third. Silko’s usage of poesy invokes the rhythmic. communal storytelling forms of the Native Americans. while her usage of prose belongs to a Western narrative tradition. By mixing the two in her novel. Silko stresses that the signifier every bit good as the content of the narrative is about the blending of the two civilizations. In world. white and Native American civilizations conflict with each other more frequently than they complement each other. but the prose and poesy weave together effortlessly. In more ways. they tell the same narrative ; “only thing is. ” as Grandma says at the terminal. “the names sound different. ” The full narratives sound different every bit good. as versification ( the division of the poetries ) . riming. initial rhyme ( the repeat of the first missive of a word ) . and repeat give the verse form a typical beat. The verse form at the terminal of the novel every bit good completes the line on the page before the first prose subdivision. enveloping the full novel within a verse form. In other words. merely as Whites are said to be an innovation of Native American witchery. so is a Western signifier of storytelling shown to be enclosed within a Native American signifier of storytelling.

Tayo’s Search for His Identity

…contours and niches that Tayo’s castanetss did non fit…

Lack of personal individuality is portion of Tayo’s battle throughout Ceremony. As a individual of “mixed ancestry” . he is lost. singing in between the boundaries of civilizations without house land underneath. All throughout his life he is reminded by Auntie that he does non belong in the community and that he is non wholly one of them. This significance is strengthened clip and clip once more by his equals and household. He relays these hurting and confusion it has caused him to the Night Swan in this manner: “Mexican eyes. ” he said. “the other childs used to badger me…When they look at me they remember things that happened. My mother…” But the Night Swan remarked: “They are afraid. Tayo. They feel something go oning around them and it scares them. Indians or Mexicans or whites–most people are afraid of alteration. They think that if their kids have the same colour of tegument. the same colour of eyes that nil is altering. They are saps. They blame us. the 1s who look different. That manner. they don’t have to believe about what has happened inside themselves” ( Silko 99 ) .

Silko. in these transitions. elucidates the predicament of bicultural persons. where society can be barbarous and know aparting to those who are perceived as ‘other. ’ Tayo. as a Native American. is marginalized by the hegemonic white civilization. As portion Mexican. he is rendered an even lower position in the Native American civilization. Likewise. Night Swan presents a discerning reading for such discriminating actions by depicting the fright that is tangled within the web of quandary in the Native American civilization. Peoples are threatened by the alteration that has transformed Native American society into a weak and vulnerable civilization on the brink of devastation. The people believe that if they maintain pure line of descent and make non blend Indian blood with other races that they will be able to continue the civilization. Hence. individuals like Tayo are seen as representations of the dismantlement of the civilization. What is important nevertheless. is the fact that Tayo. a supposed menace. grows into a strong and vivacious force tidal bore to nurture and regenerate the Native American civilization by the stopping point of the novel.

Tayo’s Healing and Self-Realization

“—nothing was lost ; all was retained. without respect to rubrics of ownership or white ranchers who thought they possessed it” ( Silko 219 ) .

Tayo’s “healing” and his enterprise to re-establish harmoniousness in nature required a realisation that he had non lost anything. This transition refers to the land that had belonged to them and had been taken by white ranchers and colonists. The thought is correspondent in Tayo’s head with himself and his individuality. His individuality can non be eradicated. nevertheless cloudy and black his birth and beginning was. and no affair how lame and unsure his connexions were with his household and community.

In Summary

“I must be acquiring o cubic decimeter vitamin D. . . because these goings-on around Laguna don’t acquire me aroused any more. It seems like I already heard these narratives b vitamin E degree Fahrenheit O R vitamin E. . . . lone thing is. the names sound different” ( Silko 273 ) .

With these words of Grandma. Silko was able to direct the message sing her permeant belief in the rule ofeadem sed aliter. likewise but otherwise. the ageless return and ageless relevancy of the old narratives and the old ceremonials. The old narratives are. for her. the agencies by which those who have gone earlier have made their experiences comprehendible. The ceremonials are the agencies by which these experiences can be revived and made indispensable to the life of the celebrator. The myths and ceremonials. entirely. are capable of giving order and significance to the confusion of ordinary life. Alienation. anomy. pandemonium. all those jobs which threaten the indigen in the modern universe lose their importance when viewed as factors that can be dealt with by a commanding myth. Thematically. white and Native American civilizations clash with each other more frequently than they complement each other. As Grandma puts it compactly. they tell the same narrative “only thing is the names sound otherwise. ”


Silko. Leslie Marmon ( 1977 ) .Ceremony. New York: Viking.


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