Tradition In Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony

937 Words 4 Pages
“ ‘I wonder what good Indian ceremonies can do against the sickness which comes from their wars, their bombs, their lies?’ ” (122). This question Tayo asks is representative to his struggle against his own sickness, and his doubt in the traditional indigenous beliefs of his people in the novel Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. When faced with two choices that might greatly influence our lives, it feels impossible to know which we should choose, or which would be the right choice. This is the nature of the conflict between the ceremony he must take part of and his inclination to destructiveness that consumes Tayo in the novel, conflict that parallels the deeper message of the story. In Silko’s Ceremony, Tayo’s struggle between self-destructiveness and healing from the trauma he has endured symbolizes the larger theme of reconciliation between the modern world and the traditional beliefs of his indigenous heritage.
Tayo returns to the Laguna Pueblo reservation from fighting in the Philippines carrying the weight of trauma and a different
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This conflict between healing, which would have him follow the ceremony and be healed, and the fate the destroyers had for him is one that significantly challenges his view of reality. In the novel, this conflict also symbolizes the theme of tradition, and how the act of storytelling can help to heal the harmful effects of modern technology, inequality, and mistreatment of the earth. The ceremony that Tayo must commit to to counter the witchery of the destroyers is an example of the reconciliation of his beliefs and the violence he must face. In the end of the novel, when Tayo is faced with the results of his actions, he is relieved that he did not fall victim to the temptation of destructiveness, and so did not himself contribute to the evil that witchery brings to this world: so showing the reader the deeper meaning in her

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