Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony Essay

1685 Words 7 Pages
The central conflict of Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony is Tayo's struggle to gain psychological wholeness in the face of various traumatic experiences, ranging from a troubled childhood to cultural marginalization and combat experiences during World War II. Throughout the novel, the key to Tayo's psychological recovery is his rediscovery of Native American cultural practices.

Most of the crucial turning points in the novel occur when Tayo listens to, takes part in, or learns more about Native American cultural traditions. He progresses towards recovery when he visits medicine men, returns to traditional customs and practices, or develops an intimate relationship with someone like Ts'eh who lives according to traditional ways. As he
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It is also open to non-rational spiritual experiences instead of limiting itself to scientific logic and reason. In addition, her general focus is more on the community as a whole and Tayo's relationship to that community than it is on Tayo's personal individuality.

Even more importantly, she structures the entire novel itself as a sacred ritual or ceremony. Throughout the novel, she repeatedly switches back and forth between the main plot and a series of interconnected poems based on various Native American legends.

These interspersed poems create a second mythic narrative that runs parallel to the realistic narrative about Tayo. Even though these mythical poems take up less space than the realistic narrative, they are equally, if not more, important than the realistic narrative. They provide additional insight into Tayo's various struggles, they outline the pattern for his recovery, and they are placed at both the beginning and the end of the novel. In addition, Betonie's healing ceremony encapsulates the central themes and struggles developed throughout the novel, and It marks the central turning point in Tayo's recovery.

By making these mythic poems and ritual ceremonies such a significant part of the novel, Silko extends her authorial voice beyond first-person and third-person narration to include the ritualistic voice of a

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