Ceremony by Silko

Topics: Friendship, Culture of India, Leslie Marmon Silko Pages: 5 (1765 words) Published: January 14, 2011
In Ceremony, Leslie Silko ties the concept of transitions into the book. Transitions are used to describe and show the change that Tayo is going through during the whole book, or his ceremony. They show Tayo’s progress in his ceremony and also show his change of thinking. Silko mentions transitions when she wrote, “[Tayo] had only seen and heard the world as it always was: no boundaries, only transitions through all distances and time” (229). This shows that Tayo’s world revolves around transitions. They can happen anywhere, at any time. Silko also mentions the concept of transitions in the book when Betonie tells Tayo that “it is a matter of transitions. You see; the changing, the becoming must be cared for closely” (120). This foreshadows the transitions and changes that Tayo will experience later in the book. On page 236, Silko writes that “the transition was completed” which means that Tayo is cured. Task 2:

Transition 1: Tayo’s change of culture
oTayo realizes that he must become accustomed to both the white and Pueblo Indian way of life in order to survive. After Tayo realizes that this transition is necessary for him to be cured and to complete the ceremony, he listens to his grandma and sees Ku’oosh and Betonie. o“There are some things we can’t cure like we used to, not since the white people came” (35). The medicine man Ku’oosh says this while seeing Tayo. Ku’oosh explains to Tayo how the whites have changed the Indians and how Indians must follow the whites in order to get cured. This line explains how white and Indian cultures have merged. It persuades Tayo to learn and follow both cultures. •Transition 2: Tayo looking for a sense of belonging to others oFor Tayo’s whole life, he has been looking for a sense of belonging to others. Since his mother left him when he was young, he felt like he had no family. When he moved in with Auntie, he didn’t feel as if he belonged to a family because Auntie would show her embarrassment of her sister and Tayo for being only half Indian. Auntie’s husband, Robert was the only person that accepted Tayo from the beginning. After Josiah died, Tayo felt a little more connected with Auntie and the rest of his family. Throughout Tayo’s ceremony, he was searching for somebody or something that he could feel a sense of belonging to. He first found this after meeting with Betonie and realizing that “there was something about 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 land, and the peace of being with these hills” (108). Because of this, Tayo became more comfortable with nature and eventually Betonie himself. At first Tayo doesn’t trust anyone. When he meets Betonie, he realizes that Betonie was his last hope. “[Tayo] was tired of fighting. If there was no one left to trust, then he had no more reason to live” (113). At the end of the book, Tayo is welcomed by his entire family and the Indian community. He has found his sense of belonging. This search for belonging affects Tayo because it is part of his cure. As Tayo finds more and more belonging in people and the land, he gets better. •Transition 3: Change from modern medicine to Indian traditions oWhen Tayo comes home from war, he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He stays in a hospital in LA but doesn’t seem to get better. He is surrounded by “white smoke” which stops him from getting cured. When Tayo goes back to his home in New Mexico, he doesn’t get better. This is when Grandma suggests that he sees a medicine man. Auntie doesn’t think Tayo needs one but she goes along with it to prove Grandma wrong. The Army doctors also don’t recommend the use of a medicine man. Tayo goes on to see both Ku’oosh and Old Betonie. It’s not until Tayo visits Old Betonie that he realizes his cure can’t be found in modern medicine. “[Tayo’s] sickness was only part of something larger, and his...
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