Leslie Marmon Silko

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Leslie Marmon Silko’s work is set apart due to her Native American Heritage. She writes through ‘Indian eyes’ which makes her stories very different from others. Silko is a Pueblo Indian and was educated in one of the governments’ BIA schools. She knows the culture of the white man, which is not uncommon for modern American Indians. Her work is powerful and educating at the same time.

In this paper, I will discuss three different works by Silko (Lullaby, Storyteller, and Yellow Woman). Each of the stories will be discussed according to plot, style, and social significance. After that, I will relate Silko’s work to other literary genies and analyze her work as a whole.

“Lullaby”

The main character in this story is a woman named Ayah. Ayah is a Native American who lives in a shack with her husband and two children. She is not very close to her husband, (Chato), but she is very loyal to him. This is the way of a Navajo Woman, being loyal to your husband and family. Chato was a well-spoken man who spoke both English and Spanish in addition to his native language. The worst thing that happened to Ayah was the loss of her two children to the welfare board. They were either sick or she wasn’t providing for them. She wasn’t taking care of them in a way that pleased the whites; however, she raised her children beautifully in the Native American tradition.

“Lullaby” is full of Native American cultural traits. On page 1139 Silko says, “he used words to speak of the dead” which is an example of Navajo Culture. The Navajo do not use the names of the dead and speak carefully about as to not upset their soul. In addition, when they said not to send the body back home many people may see this is strange. They believe that after death the soul is released and thus the body is rendered useless. Silko does a wonderful job delineating Navajo culture. Ayah is tied to...
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