A Reader's Response to Ceremony

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Ceremony: A Readers Response
Staci Parker
Southern New Hampshire University
Professor Lorianne DiSabato

Because this is a short paper focusing on your application of a particular theory, you do not need to incorporate any outside research into your argument; you should, however, use this assignment as a stepping-stone toward your literary analysis paper by offering an abbreviated version of your (tentative) thesis statement and argument. “They don’t understand. We know these hills, and we are comfortable here”. There was something aout the way the old man said the word “comfortable.” It had a different meaning- not the comfort of big houses or rich food or even clean streets, but the comfort of belonging with the land and the peace of being in these hills”(Silko, p117). It is this quote that essentially defines the reader response criticism. They Indians , Tayo, are victims of racism. Silko lets the reader hear their most inner thoughts. It is clear that there is an inner struggle with Tayo, between the white half of his heritage and how much better his life could be if he lived that heritage and the Indian heritage and how difficult his life is because he is Indian. Allowing the reader to feel what Tayo feels, hear what he is thinking and experience his reactions to the prejudice he faces helps “make sense out of chaos” (Tyson, 219). Reader response is the writers way in helping the reader make sense out of the conflicts the characters are going through but allows the reader to draw his own meaning from the written word. Silko has clearly shown the reader how Tayo struggles. The hate of his grandmother, the bouts with drunkenness, the women, etc. are all examples of how Tayo is not only feeling but dealing with his heritage. Even Old grandma, at the end of the book expresses how similar experiences are, the only thing that changes is what it’s called. One could conclude here that even Old Grandma knows racism abounds but in different cultures it is...
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