Ceremony is the story about Tayo, A Native American World War II Veteran, and his struggle to find himself. He struggles to adapt to a world where his people have to fight between the what 'whites' say is the true path, and what his culture says the right path. Ceremony displays Tayo's struggle by comparing his struggle to find his own path, to the other Native American's and their fight to their own path.
The book starts as Tayo is in bed going over the war in his mind... He remembers how the Japanese looked like him, same skin color and how Rocky told him, 'It's is what we're here to do' and how he doesn't understand why he's there killing people that look like him, and possibly feel the same way he does. But he is there because the 'white' recruiter told him that he could fly planes, and make America proud.
He remembers the clash of his path between what the white man wanted and his path. Tayo became so entranced with the idea that the Japanese were like him that he started to put people he knew at home's faces on the Japanese soldiers. Tayo could not see the reason for killing the Japanese, and then when the soldier killed Rocky, it made his path split like a silk string to a spider's web, it went out in all directions. His mind snapped at that exact moment and went into 'shell-shock'.
Tayo started very early trying to find his path, but yet his path paralleled Rocky's until the time when Rocky died. Tayo's path paralleled but was always a step behind, because he was trying to retain his heritage and still keep with the new ways. Tayo walked a thin line trying to keep his path...