Silko

Topics: Leslie Marmon Silko, Laguna Pueblo, Earth Pages: 5 (835 words) Published: June 28, 2008
White people will be the death of the world. Leslie Marmon

Silko's short story "Long time ago" explores this belief of the Laguna

Pueblos the will be brought to an end by white people. She also

touches on a more underlying theme which is a commentary on the topic

of people trying to outdo each other and the destruction that can be

caused by such actions. In "Long time ago," the Indian witches do not

realize until it is too late that they are helping to feed the

creation of the white people. Once they realize that their

competition is going to have ill effects for them, it is too late,

because the creation has already begun.

The story states that there was a time when white people did

not exist and that the world may have stayed that way had it not been

for witches. All the witches decide to get together for a contest to

see who can do the worst dark and evil things. When all but one witch

has done his best, that witch steps up and says that he will tell a

story that will be "set in motion" (135) as he speaks. After he tells

his story, the rest of the witches tell him that he has won and asks

him to recall the story and take back what he had said, but he says

that it is too late to call it back. The story that he told was of

the creation of the white people, and it is irreversible.

Leslie Marmon Silko tries to convey the belief of the Laguna

Indians that the white man is going to destroy the world. This is

evident in the belief that the "world was already complete even

without white people" (133) They feel that the world would have been

fine without white people. The only evil in the world would have been

the Indian witches. After the white people were created, there was no

stopping the inevitable, because the end of the world was "already

coming" (138).

According to "Long time ago," the white people "grow away from

the earth, ... the sun, ... [and] the plants and animals," and "they

see no life" (135). The white people do not respect the earth and its

creatures. The white people use that which the earth has to offer but

do not try to put anything back. "They will kill ... all the

animals," "poison the water" and "bring terrible diseases" which will

cause "entire tribes [to] die out" (136-137). White people, who were

created by Indian witches, "fear the world ... [and] themselves" and

"they destroy what they fear" (136). The white people, as this story

appears to convey that the Laguna Pueblo believe, will destroy

everything on the earth, including themselves, the white people, and

those things off of which the Laguna Pueblo survive.

The second theme in Silko's "Long time ago" is one of the bad

things that can come about from people competing against each other

and trying to outdo everybody else. This type of actions are evident

in the witches. Each witch that competes feels that he needs to do

something better than the rest of the witches. After the first witch

"jump[s] into [the] animal's skin" (134), the competition begins and

the witches start bringing out their contrivances to try to do

something better than the rest. They bring out "skin bundles" and

"cinders from burned hogans" (134), all of which would be gruesome

enough to impress even his fellow witches. Then the final witch comes

forth and presents the thing that will beat the creations of the rest

of the witches by a long shot. He unfolds a tale of the destruction

of the world. What the witches did not at first realize, was that by

holding this trial of abilities, they had sealed the fate of the

world. The world is doomed to be destroyed by the white people, which

was created through their own mischievous actions.

Leslie Marmon Silko conveys the Laguna Pueblo belief that

white people were created by Indian witches...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Ceremony by Silko Essay
  • Leslie Marmon Silko Research Paper
  • The Construction of Self in Ceremony
  • Leslie Marmon Silko, “Lullaby” Essay
  • Summary of "The Border Patrol State" by Leslie Marmom Silko Essay
  • Leslie Marmon Silko Essay
  • Essay about Ceremony by Leslie Silko

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free