Time in Yellow Woman

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Christopher Mermer American Short Fiction Dr. Guedon-DeConcini Native American Time in Yellow Woman Time is expressed in different ways among many different cultures. To the European, time is a linear movement from past to future which involves no backward movement. The present is the now but ultimately the future is an illusion as the future becomes a string of present moments. This is not true in Native American culture. As European time can be seen as a line, Native American time is seen as a circle. The circle is a very important symbol in Native American culture. It is the circle which honors the sun and the circular dance which honors young men off to a vision quest. The circle can also be seen in the Pueblo’s “sacred hoop”. Native American time is circular in that the past and the future mend together in the present. As a result the Native American world remains timeless and eternally spiritual. In Yellow Woman, Silko draws from her Native American heritage and uses this unique concept of time. Another use of this interesting dichotomy is also in the character (young woman) and her union with yellow woman. The young woman exists in the present while the yellow woman exists in the past. It is when they have reached union that they, as a whole, come full circle andtruly manifest the Native American understanding of time. This dichotomy is best demonstrated when she declares that "I will see someone and then I will be certain that he is only a man-someone from nearby and, I will make sure that I am Yellow woman. Because she is from time, past, I live now, and I have been to school and there are highways and pickup trucks that Yellow Woman never saw." There is a sense of struggle in her declaration but ultimately it shows that yellow woman and young woman are in the Native American sense, timeless. The setting in Yellow Woman is also timeless. The New Mexico landscape would have looked the same a thousand years ago. The only indication of the present is...
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