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ceremony by leslie marmon silko

Uploaded by Brent R Goodin on May 09, 2004

Ceremony comes from the Latin caerimonia, ‘that which is sacred.’ In the context of Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony it embodies an inculcated medium of storytelling tradition. The stories told, act cohesively or disjointedly as a mechanism of expression for elemental and deeply felt beliefs of a people. Silko’s novel is steeped in and enacts the notion of storytelling; he spotlights this theme through the Native American tradition of storytelling. Conventionally, Native American culture is oral and therefore stories play a significant role in keeping bodies of information alive. The elders of a community usually adopt the role of storytellers but it is generally an all-inclusive event. The intertwining of narrative and poems is Silko’s mode of storytelling. Tayo’s tale reflects traditional stories merged with a hybrid story based upon his own experiences. His ability to manifest his own story and scrutinize it objectively empowers him with revelation and the ability to control his destiny and identity.
Every culture has a story; each one is customized by historical, environmental, and traditional practices. However, by injecting self-rule and personal experience into the ceremonialist psyche, people are better equipped for societal change. Native American and white culture are sharply schismatic, which insinuates that Tayo, the green eyed Indian, is a living contradiction. Yet Tayo, being avant-garde in his approach to this cultural dichotomy attempts to form a symbiotic relationship between the two. The net effect of him doing so would bear a new story.
He tries to embrace the two parts of himself but the world around him is unwilling to let that happen. The two cannot coexist. As much as he wants to explore the white world he does not want to abandon his primary allegiance to the Native American traditions. Native Americans attend white schools. It is there that whites attempt to indelibly imprint their ‘witchery’ in the malleable minds of young Native Americans. They are told their stories and understanding of the world is invalid. As their minds are imprisoned in science and white philosophy, their dreams and priorities are shifted less to the agricultural practices of their ancestors and more to the prospect of white-collar jobs and good pay. Hence, Indian lands are left unprotected and there for the taking, so the whites can invade their reservation with pollution by...

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Uploaded by:   Brent R Goodin

Date:   05/09/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (1,000 words)

Views:   1628

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