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Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony

Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony is about the struggle of the Pueblo Indian's to retain their culture and heritage which is threatened by the incursion of the White man's world into their own. In the years following World War II, in which some of their own people served, this struggle became more difficult as returning soldiers tried to fit once again into reservation life and the old ways. In Pueblo life, storytelling is used to pass on history and religious beliefs, and acts as a link between the mythical deities and the people themselves, whose ritual life is based on the myth, and Silko uses these stories throughout the novel. The three most important figures in Pueblo mythology are Thought Woman, Corn Mother, and Sun Father. Thought Woman is attributed with creation of the universe, and the Pueblo believe that it consists of the world we live in, earth, and the four worlds below where the spirits of the dead go.

Corn Mother, or Corn Woman, is synonymous with Mother Earth, and represents growth, life, and the feminine aspects of the world. She reflects the importance of corn as the staple crop of the Pueblo, and ritual corn dances are performed to bring rain, increase fertility, and assure abundant corn crops. Sun Father is the most powerful creative force in the universe and represents masculinity and light.

In Ceremony, Silko portrays the endangered state of the Laguna reservation after World War II: the land has been damaged by runoff from the uranium mine and a generation of young men have been destroyed by the war (Silko 242). They originally enlisted to overcome feelings of inferiority, and to escape the poverty of life on the reservation. While they were in the army they gained a measure of respect and acceptance by mainstream America (Silko 64). Instead, the war has destroyed them - even the survivors like Tayo and Emo. Tayo has become mentally disturbed after the death of his friend Rocky, and Emo has...

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Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 22:28, August 07, 2020, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1704402.html