Monday, October 20, 2008


"Ceremony: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)" (Leslie Marmon Silko)

Leslie Silko's Ceremony is a trip through the mythological world of Tayo, the main character. The story's interesting format contributes to the depiction of the historically circular existence of the American Indians. Ceremony stitches together the pieces of Tayo's past and present to make for a linear story of his life before, during, and past the war. The line is interrupted by the violence that he experiences in Japan and in his dreams about it at home. Tayo needs to cure himself of the memories - a goal which he gradually finds impossible even at his own home. He witnesses that there is an equal though different destruction forces in America and among his friends compared to that in the war. Tayo's task becomes to rebuild his life by trying to change the ceremony and make his linear story part of the traditional circle.

Navajo myths and spirits weave the text of Tayo's recovery as the Spiderwoman weaves her web. Silko integrates folklore and legends in the text of the book to forge the solution for Tayo: he needs to incorporate his story into the old story of his people. There is just one way to get cured, and this is through merging past and present, weaving the cobweb of the text as the history of this new Navajo man in his renewed Navajo home. Healing happens through acceptance of a new rite, a new ceremony.

"Old Grandma shook her head slowly,… ‘ It seems like I already heard these stories before… only thing is, the names sound different’” (260).

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