Ceremony Essay

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  • Topic: Native Americans in the United States, Leslie Marmon Silko, World War II
  • Pages : 3 (1021 words )
  • Download(s) : 241
  • Published : February 12, 2012
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Cultural Collision in Ceremony

Leslie Marmon Silko’s enlightening Pueblo Indian, mixed heritage perspective in her novel Ceremony represents significant progress for the oppressed culture and identity of Native Americans. European Colonizers entered America with a society focused on exploiting all the country had to offer. Unfortunately the manipulation and deception that accompanied this society came at a colossal cost to the countries natural resources and native people. In her novel Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko illustrates the “witchery” of white society and its destructive affects on the Native American WWII veterans: Tayo, Rocky, Emo, Harley, Leroy and Pinkie. The stories of these individual characters portray the blinding destructiveness of white society; as well as the hopes and possibility of freeing mankind from the manipulative leash of “witchery.” Understanding the “witchery” and Native American traditions mentioned throughout the novel are essential in order to properly scrutinize the devastating impacts imposed by white society. According to Betonie, the wise medicine man who guides Tayo through his struggles, “it was Indian witchery that made white people in the first place.” (132) Betonies rebuttals the common Indian misconception that white people are solely responsible for the evils in the world; addressing that they “are only tools that the witchery manipulates.” (132) He believes the manipulative aspects of “witchery” divert individuals from a relationship with the natural and spiritual world to a more modernized relationship with the material world. This ideal is illustrated in the story of the ancient witches who’ve gathered from around the world to show off their special charms and powers; “The contest started like that. Then some of them lifted the lids on their big cooking pots, calling the rest of them over to take a look.” (134) Similar to a modern day fashion or technology show; the witches valued and compared their material...
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