Free Essay

Ceremony Novel Essay Book by Leslie Silko

In: Novels

Submitted By iloveceb
Words 1201
Pages 5
My whole life I’ve been surrounded by stories; my culture thrives on stories, especially those about my ancestors, nature, religion, and rituals. Many of our cultural stories are ancient and appear mythological, yet most of our village considers them valuable and true. However, I refuse to believe these ancient tales. Believing these stories would only inhibit my desire for my family to become something greater than what we already are. Beyond these cultural stories, my village constantly bombards me with stories and gossip of my family. Our people blame me for my family’s actions; everyday is a battle for me to work towards clearing our family’s name amongst our people. However, this is incredibly difficult for me as my family is often selfish and cannot see how their actions affect others, especially me. As a Christian and devout woman of God, I find it my duty to take on sacrifices in order to advance myself spiritually and socially. Every Sunday I go to church alone; I can’t bare the thought of bringing our corrupt family with me. Of course I pray that our family members would be baptized, but I have to worry about saving my own soul. For this reason, I sacrificed for my sister, Laura, and raised her son, Tayo. During Laura’s lifetime, I was responsible for fixing her mistakes as I had always been more virtuous and spiritual than her. When we were young, Laura’s drunkenness and lust concerned our people and they feared they were losing not only her, but also themselves. I had to take on the burden of saving Laura for our people. I fought for her to come back to us but it was useless because she had too much shame. When our people failed to save Laura, everyone was humiliated. In turn, “they focused the anger on [Laura] and [my] family, knowing from many years of this conflict that the anger could not be contained by a single person or family but that it must leak out and soak into the ground under the entire village” (69). From this point on, I became responsible for our family’s actions as “everything belonged to [my mother and I] including the good family name” (32). One night when mother and I had gone to bingo at the church, Laura had left Tayo at my home for Robert and I to raise as our son. I was angry and from that point on, there was a private understanding between Tayo and I that he was not to be treated as my real son, Rocky. “[I] wanted [Tayo] close enough to feel excluded, to be aware of the distance between [the boys]” (67). After the boys started school, the distance between Tayo and Rocky faded but was still present among us. Although it saddened me that Rocky withdrew from me as he grew older, I was proud of who he was becoming, unlike Tayo. When Tayo was old enough, I told him the shameful story of his mother coming home at sunrise after a night out, walking through the yard wearing nothing but high heels. The story is so horrid that I never told my mother because I feared it would bring her pain; I can only hope the story brought Tayo pain as Laura was his mother and he deserved to feel ashamed of her. “Without him there would have not been so much shame and disgrace for the family” (70). I feel as if Tayo holds some responsibility for his mother; had Laura never given birth to Tayo, the stories and gossip from our people would have dwindled shortly after she died. But instead, our family’s shame continues amongst the village because Tayo is a half-breed and a living reminder of Laura. I resented Tayo even more than I resented Laura because he survived the war while he deserved to die before Rocky. Rocky had his whole life ahead of him while Tayo is making nothing of his. I despise the majestic stories our people believe and was thrilled when Rocky began to share my disbelief. Rocky read sports magazines and believed in science while Tayo read books written about the land and believed stories he was told. “[I] valued Rocky’s growing understanding of the outside world, of the books, of everything of importance and power” (76). Rocky was beginning to become part of something greater which I have always secretly desired. He was “someone ho could not only make sense of the outside world but become part of it” (76). After Rocky died in the war, I was empty and lost all hope in living a sacrificial life and saving my family’s name. It was not until we heard of Tayo’s sickness that I had the opportunity to potentially redeem myself. I had already raised Tayo and I did not want to care for him during his sickness, however, “this time [I] would keep him because he was all [I] had left” (29). “[I] needed a new struggle, another opportunity to show those who might gossip that [I] had still another unfortunate burden which proved that, above all else, [I] was a Christian woman” (30). My family made it difficult for me to diminish the stories people gossiped about us while Tayo was sick. Mother insisted that a medicine man make a visit to Tayo, disregarding that the Army doctor had clearly said “No Indian medicine” (34). I knew the medicine man’s attempt to heal Tayo with a bag of weeds, dust, and soft chants would fail. Furthermore, word would spread of his need for Ku’oosh and people would began to whisper and tell stories of how Tayo became crazy. As if Laura and Tayo had not caused enough trouble for the family, my brother, Josiah, had relations with a Mexican stripper, the Night Swan. Rumors amongst our women spread like wildfire and people laughed when they heard of Josiah’s relationship with the Night Swan. Even after Josiah’s death, I am mortified to be associated with him, especially as “I’ve spent all my life defending this family, but nobody ever stops to think what the people will say or that Father Kenneth will call me aside after mass to speak with me” (88). I yearn to be able to walk through the village without people whispering stories about my family’s failures, yet this mentality is not held by my younger generation. While Tayo’s illness appeared to heal, my mother believes old Betonie brought about this healing through his ridiculous chants and stories. I, however, was watching Tayo closely because “[I] didn’t trust the peace [we] had in the house now” (215). The women in Church asked me privately “how [I] had managed all those years to face the troubles which had been dropped into [my] lap”; I told them, “It isn’t easy. It never has been easy” (258). What I did not include in my answer to the women was my constant fear that the troubles will reappear at any moment without warning or discretion. Therefore, I continue to live in anticipation of new struggle and shame which I must make right in order to further my soul and protect my family name.…...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Criticism of Siddhartha and Ceremony

...Hesse A) Archetypal Criticism: Hermann Hesse has incorporated numerous symbols, metaphors and allusions into his work to help the reader understand the story of Siddhartha better. Similarly, Archetypes are also present in this book. The main Archetypal character in the book is Siddhartha. He is a seeker who wants to experience a better, more authentic and more fulfilling life by achieving enlightenment. He fears being trapped and is true to his soul. For example, he leaves the Brahmins, the Samanas and Gotama Buddha in pursuit of more knowledge to fulfill his desire of gaining enlightenment. Similarly, Vasudeva is also another Archetypal character in the story. He serves as a counselor towards Siddhartha and is a role model to him. For example, in the chapter “the ferryman” Siddhartha surrenders to Vasudeva his entire self, even his clothes, in order to follow his example in leading a life of calm fulfillment and wisdom. Along with archetypal characters, archetypal symbols are also present in the book. The River is definitely the most influential archetypal symbol in the book. It represents the flowing of time and transitional phases of the life cycle. For example, whenever a great transition occurred in the book like when Siddhartha left Gotama Buddha and also when he abandoned his wealth he came to the river. When Siddhartha observed the river he learned that the river exists only in the present, it is everywhere at once, upstream, downstream, at......

Words: 2470 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

Essay on Novels

...Essay on Novel Published by admin at 12:41 pm under Sample Essays Tim Winton’s novel, ‘That eye, the sky’ is a powerful exploration of such themes as loneliness, isolation and maturity within the context of Australian family life and landscape. These themes, which come to represent serious and grave difficulties for the protagonists, are explored somewhat differently across the mediums of film and text. John Ruane’s cinematic interpretation of Tim Winton’s text provides a useful and constructive alternative perspective of these thematic difficulties. The Australian Family depicted in ‘That eye, the sky’ is the quintessential Australian country family. The depiction of the Flack family in the novel describes the stereotypical image of the Australian family. More…They live in a country cottage with chickens in the yard, holes in the asbestos wall sheeting and Sam Flack, the head of this house, drives a Ute. This description places the family in a stereotypical Australian place. The narrator in the novel, Ort, provides the reader with an insight into life as a member of the Flack family. For example, the reader can understand what Ort is thinking, when he… This example shows us the thought process that Ort goes through and the reader views his perspective of his family. In the film, the casting of Jamie Croft as Ort is believable and appears as one would imagine. Not only is the image of Ort believable but also how and what he thinks provides the viewer with a greater insight...

Words: 1898 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Novel Book

... Selected by Charles William Eliot Copyright © 2001, Inc. Bibliographic Record Contents General Introduction to the Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction, by Charles W. Eliot, LL.D. The Novel in England Biographical Note Criticisms and Interpretations I. By William Makepeace Thackeray II. By Leslie Stephen III. By Austin Dobson IV. By Gordon Hall Gerould List of Characters Dedication Book I—Containing as Much of the Birth of the Foundling as Is Necessary or Proper to Acquaint the Reader with in the Beginning of This History I. Introduction to the Work, or Bill of Fare to the Feast II. A Short Description of Squire Allworthy III. An Odd Accident Which Befel Mr. Allworthy at His Return Home IV. The Reader’s Neck Brought Into Danger by a Description V. Containing a Few Common Matters, with a Very Uncommon Observation Upon Them VI. Mrs. Deborah is Introduced Into the Parish VII. Containing Such Grave Matter, That the Reader Cannot Laugh Once Through the Whole Chapter VIII. A Dialogue Between Mesdames Bridget and Deborah IX. Containing Matters Which Will Surprize the Reader X. The Hospitality of Allworthy XI. Containing Many Rules, and Some Examples, Concerning Falling in Love XII. What the Reader May, Perhaps, Expect to Find in It XIII. Which Concludes the First Book Book II—Containing Scenes of Matrimonial Felicity in Different Degrees of Life I. Showing What Kind of a History This Is II. Religious Cautions Against Showing Too Much Favour to Bastards III. The......

Words: 362411 - Pages: 1450

Free Essay

D.P. Essay Novel Analysis

...Essay D.P. by Kurt Vonnegut, JR. By Frederikke Aaes _______________________________________________________________________________________ “Sister, am I son of an American soldier?” (p. 30, line 16). This quotation is a 6-year-old boy, Joe, asking a nun about where he comes from. During World War 2 many soldiers had affairs and slept with the local people when they were on a foreign assignment in for example Germany. One of the consequences of this was that several children were born having soldiers as fathers and a local woman from the given place as mother. The child were in most cases born long after the soldier had left the given town or village. The short story D.P. by Kurt Vonnegut, JR is showing us this problem through a telling about a young black boy named Joe, searching for his identity. The title D.P. stands for “Displaced Person” and this is exactly how Joe feels. At the time the story takes place black people were being discriminated, and especially in Europe. This meant that there were not many black people in Germany. The story shows us an image of a youg black boy, Joe, who was raised by nuns in a small German village. He lives on an orphanage with several other children. He was named Karl Heinz by the nuns but the townspeople dubbed him Joe Louis. He has never seen another black person in his life. He do not know who he is, who his mother is or who his father is. Therefore, when he finds out that there are black people among the American Soldiers...

Words: 744 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Silko: White Man's Influence on Native American Culture

...Native American Culture: The European Influence One theme that rings throughout many of Leslie Marmon Silko’s writings in the book ‘Storyteller’ is the Pueblo relationship with the White Man, their ability/inability to comply with each other, and the destructiveness of contact between cultures. Throughout the book, it is made known that the European presence in American Indian culture is real. The first thing one can notice when flipping through this book is that it is loaded with photographs. These photographs give visualizations of the influence the Europeans have had on the lifestyle of the native people. Unlike what one might picture, most people in these photographs are not covered in traditional Indian clothing. They wear bowties, blue jeans, shiny shoes, and button-down shirts tucked into their pants. Some of them wear glasses and some wear wide brimmed hats. They pose for family photos, they pose in front of automobiles, and they pose with complex gadgets like cameras and firearms. In the introduction to this book, Silko is sure to make the reader aware of the white man’s system to force the assimilation of the Indians. She states that “in the early twentieth century the Pueblo men and boys who were caught participating in the religious activities of the Kiva were arrested and imprisoned by the authorities. (xxiii)” The lack of male presence caused severe hardship for families and many of the very young and the elderly died of starvation. This severely......

Words: 874 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Works of Literature in the Road Novel English Literature Essay

...Works Of Literature In The Road Novel English Literature Essay Contemporary authors are influenced by those who preceded them in terms of both the form and content of their works. This is evident in Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. McCarthy chooses not to imitate those greats that came before him such as Milton, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, or Tennyson in terms of form; in fact, he deliberately avoids almost all conventional choices in terms of form. However, he is obviously influenced by their ideas. He ties together Wordsworth’s concern at his society losing touch with nature and Tennyson’s exploration of what a society’s priorities should be. He creates a world in which civilization has dissolved and the ecosystem is in chaos. It is implied that the society has lost touch with nature and this has resulted in the death of global civilization. His goal seems to be to awaken the world to the impact that humans have had on the environment and how that can or perhaps will be the source of our downfall. This concern is comparable to the fears of many in the environmental movement that humanity is destroying the natural world and unless drastic changes are made now, this degradation will be permanent. Many prominent politicians in the United States, such as Al Gore, author of An Inconvenient Truth, include environmental responsibility as a core aspect of their political platform. Indeed, in Europe there are many parties whose only focus is environmentally responsible legislation.......

Words: 1698 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Book Club Isu Essay

...Book Club ISU Essay To respect one’s reputation or to be full of pride and ego is what differentiates between a righteous and respectable person and an arrogant one. The books, “Alias Grace”, “Call of the Wild”, “Wuthering Heights” and “Mayor of Casterbridge” all demonstrate that by protecting ones pride only leads to more destruction of it. “Alias Grace” written by Margaret Atwood, shows this with the possession of Grace’s body and with the accusations made towards Grace. “Call of Wild” by Jack Landon also demonstrates this theme with the killing of Curly, and the transformation of Buck. Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” illustrates this with the interference of class difference in love and the pride of two people coming in the way of their union. Finally, in “Mayor of Casterbridge” by Thomas Hardy, the main character’s stubbornness and pride of protecting his name leads to damaging his personal relationships, work and eventually his life. The first book, “Alias Grace” was shared by group member, Angel. She felt this book was “Interesting, with a hidden arrogance and pride laced within the characters." In the book it shows how after the truth of Mary possessing Grace’s body is disclosed, Mary wishes that Grace is kept oblivious to the truth so her image does not get lowered in the eyes of Grace. This shows Mary’s character valuing what her friend thinks of her rather than respecting her enough to tell the truth. This also shows how Mary would not object having her......

Words: 1305 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Comparative Essay - the Book Thief

...true in the novel and the film The Book Thief. She uses words to develop relationships with her foster father, Hans Hubermann; Max Vandenburg, the illicit Jew in her basement; and her neighbours. In the novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak there is much more relationship development compared to the film The Book Thief directed by Brian Percival. This consequently causes the theme of the power of words to be less prominent in the film. The novel The Book Thief develops the relationship between Liesel Meminger and her neighbours more than the film The Book Thief therefore minimizing the theme. First, Liesel and Rudy become best friends, “Insane or not, Rudy was always destined to be Liesel’s best friend.” (Zusak 48). Rudy introduced himself to Liesel as soon as she moved in, he developed a liking for her and they soon become best friends. Rudy used his charming, and sometimes insulting, words to win over Liesel. This develops the theme because it shows that even if one does not want to like someone, their words can change them into a likable person. Second, Liesel and Frau Hermann develop a relationship, “When she came and stood with an impossibly frail steadfastness, she was holding a tower of books against her stomach, from her navel to the beginning of her breasts. She looked so vulnerable in the monstrous doorway. Long, light eyelashes and just the slightest tinge of expression. A suggestion.” (Zusak 133). Frau Hermann, the mayor’s wife, had seen Liesel steal a book......

Words: 1736 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Ceremony Paper

...In Ceremony, Tayo embodies the combination of both Native American and white cultures. Taking on two cultures makes Tayo bear the effect of a whole society’s confusion at the ways in which the world is changing. Tayo encounters difficulty in identifying his identity, especially since he never knew his father and he was abandoned by his mother at the age of four. He is raised by his aunt who constantly reminds him of his difference. Tayo is educated by a predominately ran white school. However, unlike his friends, he often finds the white ways of life damaged and continues to respect and believe in the Native American traditions that he learns from his family. However, even though Tayo views the white ways of life faulty, he learns that he has to embrace the American culture in order to reflect back to his Native American culture. This explanation is what Tayo learns about being an American. Furthermore, World War II interrupts Tayo's life drastically as it does to most Americans of his generation. The majority of the Native American men who return from World War II turn to alcohol to drown their trauma, which is full of confused anger. More specifically, Tayo along with his cousin Rocky were in World War II. Rocky was killed in war and Tayo became emotionally disturbed. Tayo was more violent when he came back from war. He was disoriented and changed by the foreign culture of war. His aunt who watches over him is still in shock and continues to change the sheets for her......

Words: 2078 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Book Club Essay

...EDUC 2301 11-21-10 Book Club Essay Classroom Success for the LD and ADHD Child, written by Suzanne H. Stevens, is a fantastic book that targets the needs of children with learning disabilities in today’s classrooms. She describes how students who are not doing well in school, might be labeled as lazy, careless, or spoiled in regards to their attitudes towards school, when in fact this might not be the case at all. The simple fact is these students need additional help in their studies. She outlines how it’s hard to find a balance between a student being lazy, and one that truly needs help, i.e. learning disability. She describes the classroom setting for special needs children through the 1980’s leading up to today. There is a vast difference between the attention LD and ADHD children are receiving today, as compared to the early 80’s. As research and technology has improved, so has our ability to help and recognize the needs of our children in today’s classroom. She discusses the need for teachers to be open-minded and develop a new way of thinking. She states, “Teachers have to develop a whole new arsenal of techniques for solving student’s problems.” The author gave many examples of teachers who were “ignorant” to the fact that they were hurting “these kids,” instead of helping them succeed. She gave examples of teachers who would hold to a “One Size Fits All” teaching mentality and how that was not always successful for all students. In teachers defense she......

Words: 785 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The Book Thief Essay

...In the novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, it is evident that books, reading, and words themselves represent power for different characters in different ways. Close analysis of Liesel Meminger and Max Vandenburg reveals that power can be achieved through literacy in a context where literacy is severely limited. Literacy plays a major role in Liesel’s adolescence. Liesel obtains power through literacy as it gives her a sense of comfort and control. The act of reading and writing gives Liesel the strength to cope with and heal from her emotional trauma. Reading and finishing the book The Gravedigger’s Handbook helps Liesel find the courage to move on from the loss of her brother. Although Liesel does not yet know how to read when she arrives at the Hubermann’s on Himmel Street, she keeps the book to comfort her, as it is the last object she has relating to her brother. When papa and Liesel finish reading the book, Liesel “trot[s] out, involuntarily” (Zusak 87) by explaining to Hans that her brother’s name “‘was Werner’” (87). The act of Liesel’s words being spoken involuntarily suggests that “she is finding some freedom in the effects of her disturbing experiences” (Lee 14). Liesel does not have to force herself to speak to Hans about her brother as she has gained emotional stability. Additionally, literacy helps Liesel recover from her distress as Hans reads to her nightly. Hans reads to Liesel “to soothe her, to love her” (Zusak 36). Hans’ spoken words from the books......

Words: 2006 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Leslie Marmon Silko

...Lit211J February 19, 2012 Wk 5 Silko Annotation She retraces the mountain of her ancestry every single day quietly. In the wind she can smell the scent of her ancestors made from crushed pale blue leaves of the mountain. The smell is coming from up the mountain side from which her ancestors descended from, where the mountain lion laid down and ate their deer. It is better to be where she once came from, where her ancestors came from, up on that mountain watching nature. The elderly that remember it once are all gone, the old songs of ancestors are forgotten, and the story where it all began died with its memory. The memory of the culture dances in the snow frost moonlight, swam in the freezing mountain water, went through the narrow mossy canyon down and out of the mountain, out of the deep canyon stone, becoming a memory spilling into the world. The theme of ancestry is seen in this poem. Ancestry to the protagonist can be felt in all of her days and smelt in the wind that comes from the mountains. It is the main reason for this poem and it is very important to the protagonist. The ancestry of her people was once rich in a time before and is now lost but she can still sense it in nature. Ancestry is important to her in her every day dealings and she remembers it in all the aspects of her life. She knows where her culture came from and where she came. Her people are from the mountain and she will never forget where she came from. Disinheritance is another......

Words: 963 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Poetry Essay - "There Is No Frigate Like a Book"

...the poem “There is No Frigate like a Book” Emily Dickinson’s use of figurative language, sound devices and denotation and connotation show us how literature allows use of our imagination to go on a journey. At first glance it may seem that Emily Dickinson has written a simple poem in “There Is No Frigate like a Book”. However, further analysis reveals that she believes reading is a gift to all. Through observation of the poem we find her fascination with reading and the poem’s ability to take her reader on a journey; as well as reveal how reading can take us on any journey we wish to embark. The theme of the poem is that when we use our imagination while reading anything is possible, even travel to distant lands. The first clue that reveals this poem is about traveling through literature lies within its title. A frigate is a U.S. warship used mainly for escorting. The clever comparison of a frigate and a book set the tone and create excitement about where we will go. It is also this comparison that allows us to compare the necessary physical means required to take us on our adventure. The first thing that is noticed is the use of figurative language. The figurative language used in this writing is referred to as simile. A simile is a phrase that compares two different things. In lines 3 and 4 “nor any coursers like a page… of prancing poetry” we find the most obvious use of simile when comparing a horse to pages in a book. The other use of simile used in......

Words: 837 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

How to Write Novel Essay

...How to Write a novel Essay Posted in Novel Essay on 04/03/2012 01:34 am by admin1 Novel Essay as a Literature Essay Type A powerful essay can balance a detailed and logical structure with an enthusiastic and convincing writing style. This balance will help you reach goal, which is to convey information and build an effective argument regarding the chosen subject matter. As you plan, write and edit your essay, your main argument should remain at the heart of your work. Of course, the task of staying focused on your main idea may not be as easy as it seems. In addition, you will need to carefully handle other elements of the essay, such as the introduction, supporting evidence and conclusion. When dealing with a literature essay, you should offer a debatable argument about a literary work. For example, simply stating that “Mark Twain’s ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ is about the adventures of a young protagonist,” will not suffice as a debatable issue. You will need to produce a more focused and opinionated topic. Your personal stance, which will appear in the form of your essay’s thesis statement, can aim to analyze character development, debate the effectiveness of writing techniques employed by the author or even draw comparisons between multiple literary works. You must be imaginative and clear when brainstorming your thesis. After your thesis statement is in place, you will use the body of the essay to support your stance using facts and examples from the text.......

Words: 1376 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Novel Comparison Essay

...ISP ESSAY How one lives their life relies a great deal on perspective. Perspective is either the key to happiness, or the route to misery. The novels Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry and Freedom by Jonathan Franzen both display how ones perspective determines their path and ultimate outcome in life. Although the novels deal with two completely different styles of families they do share many common themes concerning the aspect of perspective. Both the Vakeel and the Berglund families struggle with the trials and tribulations of everyday life, however they approach it differently due to their past experiences, as well as their personal values and morals. This allows for an overall completely different experience for the characters. Firstly, the characters perceive the issue of family relationships differently, as one family is close knit, whereas the other is torn and distant. Secondly, each novel displays the character’s struggles with finding personal freedoms and breaking away from the traditional views of society. Lastly, the characters in the novel deal with finding their true self and the person they are meant to be. Therefore both authors incorporate the themes of family relationships, personal freedoms and self discovery into their thrilling novels to empathize the power that perspective has on one’s life. In Family Matters, the relationships within the Vakeel family are strong due to an abundance of communication, respect, and equality. As a result the......

Words: 1706 - Pages: 7