Reactionary Essay: "Ceremony"

Essay by erogalskyHigh School, 11th grade March 2006

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

In the novel "Ceremony", the author Leslie Marmon Silko depicts a central theme that states in order for someone to truly understand themselves they need to understand their culture. They need to understand where their ancestors come from and the aspects that make them whole. The concept of understanding yourself becomes especially important in Native American societies, where there is a lot of outside pressure to assimilate into white man's society. By being able to understand your culture you are able to learn more about yourself, help the community, and stay closer to your family. All three of these aspects are important to understanding yourself.

In "Ceremony", Tayo returns from the war a changed man. He has seen and done things that no man should ever have to witness. Tayo begins to see his friends slowly slip into a black hole of depression, using alcohol to ease their pain.

They begin to detest being Native American and they long to put their army uniforms back on and walk around like a white man: they didn't ever want to give up the cold beer and the blond cunt" (Silko 42). When the men were dressed like white men "they got respect" (Silko 42).

Grandma decided that the white man's medicine was not helping Tayo, so she sent him to a Native American doctor, or medicine man. Grandma believed that this medicine man could heal him traditionally using a ceremony even though he was a "half breed" (Silko 54) which was Auntie's concern. During the long and arduous ceremony Tayo learned a lot about his culture. He began to understand the stories, and he saw their purpose in life. By understanding his heritage he was able to understand where he had come from, what it was like to...