The Themes Within The Rain Clouds
“The Man to Send Rain Clouds” is a beautifully written short story by Leslie Marmon Silko. Set in a modern 21st century time frame, this story is about a Native American family’s grandfather passing away and how the family gives him a proper, cultural funeral despite all of the modern traditions/challenges that present them along the way. There are a couple themes that are displayed as the story is told. The first theme that is the most prominent and apparent in this story shown is respect. This theme is displayed throughout the entire story. The characters in the story Ken, Leon, Louise and Teresa clearly have respect for Teofilo not just because he is their grandfather, because he is an elder. In Native American culture, elders are considered the wisest and most respected in their tribes. Ken and Leon show their respect by painting Teofilo’s face “Across the brown wrinkled forehead he drew a streak of white and along the high cheekbones he drew a strip of blue paint… Then Leon painted with the yellow under the old man’s broad nose, and finally when he painted green across the chin, he smiled” (Silko 403) and tying a feather in his hair “Leon took a piece of string out of his pocket and tied a small grey feather in the old man’s long white hair.” (Silko 403) These are traditions that are performed for a proper Native American burial ceremony, something that the narrator makes several references to. Another way respect is shown is the relationship between Father Paul and the Native Americans. The story illustrates the Father Paul’s struggle to create a mutual respect with the Native Americans on the reservation. The Native Americans and the Father Paul experience a culture clash when it comes to death and traditions involving these two subjects. The conversation between Father Paul and Leon discussing the holy water for Teofilo’s funeral show the cultural struggle each individual is experiencing. Father Paul upholds his...
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