Postmodernism In Ceremony

Great Essays
Ceremony with a Postmodern Twist
Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony provides a glimpse into the life of one half Laguna/half white man’s life and his search for identity before, during, and after World War II. Tayo, the protagonist, remembers something of life with his Laguna mother and knows nothing about his white father. He was raised by his mother’s family, attended a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school, fought in World War II as a member of the US Army, was treated for battle fatigue in a Veterans Administration hospital, and attempts to discover who he is after returning to the reservation. Silko employs the postmodernistic techniques of using intertextual elements, presenting the story in a nonlinear fashion, revisiting history ironically,
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In Ceremony Silko provides a look at Tayo’s history with an ironic slant. When old Ku’oosh, the Laguna medicine man summoned by old Grandma talks with Tayo about his illness he says: “’Maybe you don’t know these things,’ vaguely acknowledging the distant circumstance of an absent white father. He called Josiah by his Indian name and said, ‘If he had known then maybe he could have told you before you went to the white people’s war’” (Silko 32). This statement implies that Tayo would be better off and possibly not be ill if he had been full-blood Laguna and his father could have taught Laguna history “but in reality Tayo’s maternal grandmother and his maternal uncle have formed the little boy perfectly. They are the people ancient custom would have preferred as his teachers” (Evasdaughter 285). Old Ku’oosh’s statement is ironic because Tayo was raised by the Laguna and was taught the ways of the Laguna by full-blood Lagunas – his uncle and his grandmother yet old Ku’oosh was blaming Tayo’s illness on the fact that his white father was absent. His white father would have not been able to teach him about his Laguna

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