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A plot summary of lislie marmon silkos ceremony

The elements of his personality feel knotted and tangled, and his every attempt to restore them to order merely snags and twists them all the more.

Having risked his life for an America that fundamentally disowns him, Tayo must confront difficult and painful questions about the society he has been fighting for. In the pages of Ceremony, a novel that combines extraordinary lyricism with a foreboding sense of personal and national tragedy, Leslie Marmon Silko follows Tayo as he pursues a sometimes lonely and always intensely personal quest for sanity in a broken world.

A plot summary of leslie marmon silkos novel ceremony

As Tayo searches for self-knowledge and inner peace, the reader, too, embarks on a complex emotional journey. Both tenderly humanistic and apocalyptically prophetic, Ceremony is truly a novel capable of changing both hearts and minds.

  • After Tayo walks through Betonie's ceremony, finds the cattle and puts them in a safe pasture, after he has confronted the witchery and abandoned all thought of retaliating against it, after he has been transformed by these efforts and his meeting with Ts'eh from isolated warrior to a spiritually integrated person, after he has taken on the aspect of unity termed naiya mother in Laguna, he is free to understand the whole thing;
  • It is within this framework that Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Ceremony acquires significance;
  • Thus, one might consider Tayo's illness as a result of the disruption of an ancient balance and unity of person, ceremony and land;
  • Because Silko presents a number of Native American characters with drinking problems, her novel has been accused of playing into a negative stereotype;
  • He could feel it everywhere, even in the blue sheets that were stretched tightly across the bed;
  • He had picked the flowers along the path, flowers with long yellow petals the color of the sunlight.

After receiving her B. She married John Silko in 1970.

Poems, for which she received the Pushcart Prize for Poetry. In 1973, Silko moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, where she wrote Ceremony. Nevertheless, it was the singular achievement of Ceremonythat first secured her a place among the first rank of Native American novelists.

Ceremony Reader’s Guide

Leslie Marmon Silko now lives on a ranch near Tucson, Arizona. Is its influence on the narrative consistently the same, and is it always effective? For what reasons do Tayo and his cousin Rocky join the Army? In what ways do they and the other young Native American men benefit from their armed service, and why do these benefits evaporate once the war is over?

Ceremony has been described as a story of struggle between two cosmic forces, one basically masculine and one essentially feminine. Assuming this to be true, what are the images of masculinity and femininity that Silko presents?

Is this gendered analysis an adequate way of understanding the novel? Are there important ideas that it leaves out? What is the effect of this assertion?

  1. What is the effect of this assertion?
  2. He crossed the river at sunrise.
  3. Tayo's illness is a corollary of disordered thinking - his own, that of those around him, and that of the forces which thrust them all into the tragic circumstances of World War II. And he was lost somewhere, deep beneath the surface of his own body and consciousness, swimming away from all his life before that hour.

Does it make white people demonic by intimating that they are agents of evil, incapable of doing good? To what extent is the novel a story of the struggle between technology and belief? Choose one of these contrasts or another one that you have observed ; what values does each of the two terms represent?

Questions and Topics for Discussion

Do their meanings remain constant? Blindness and invisibility are recurring motifs in Ceremony.

  • He had picked the flowers along the path, flowers with long yellow petals the color of the sunlight;
  • As a matter of fact, in her novel there is not one single symbol that is not in one way or another connected with womanhood, and does not, in some way, relate back to Ts'eh and through her to the universal feminine principle of Creation;
  • In what ways do they and the other young Native American men benefit from their armed service, and why do these benefits evaporate once the war is over?
  • Because he is comfortable with his integrated cultures and familiar with ceremonialism, Betonie is able to help Tayo find the mission he is supposed to undertake;
  • Thought Woman thinks Creation and sings her dormant sisters Uretsete and Naotsete into life;
  • The plants would grow there like the story, strong and translucent as stars.

What does Silko suggest through her repeated uses of inabilities or refusals to see? How do the cattle and other animal presences in the novel function to illustrate the traditional values of the Laguna tribe and their conflicts with the principles and desires of white Americans?

  • In the west and in the south too, the clouds with round heavy bellies had gathered for the dawn;
  • It is within this framework that Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Ceremony acquires significance;
  • As a matter of fact, western cultures tend to separate the material from the spiritual and supernatural, while for the American Indians the material and spiritual are different expressions of the same reality;
  • By myself, I have made four things;;;
  • What is the effect of this assertion?
  • For Tayo, wholeness consists of sowing plants and nurturing them, caring for the spotted cattle, and especially acknowledging that he belongs exactly where he is, that he is and always has been home.

Because Silko presents a number of Native American characters with drinking problems, her novel has been accused of playing into a negative stereotype. Do you think this charge has merit? Why or why not? What are the limits to the salvation that it appears to offer?