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Songs Of The Ghouls Analysis

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People often think of stories as tools we use to pass down knowledge and tradition. They inspire others about the possibilities of world; overall they are considered a positive thing. However, in Songs and Stories of the Ghouls, Notley explores how stories can also be used as weapons by the powerful to erase the culture and history of a group of people. What we call history is the “objective” version of the story of the world the powerful want told. It is this singular version of history that gives us the ability to make sense of the world. The stories of the defeated are left behind in the ether, ceasing to be. In Songs and Stories of the Ghouls, those who overwrite other cultures stories are known as conquerors. The conquerors “rip the…show more content…
The stories that are passed down are not randomly decided; they are specifically chosen to create a narrative. The conquerors want a narrative told that is in accordance with their values or that works towards a goal. A prime example of this was in Ceremony, when Betonie explains to Tayo that whites are only the invention of Indian witchcraft. She tells the story of a great conference of witches where white people were created and let loose on the earth like a plague. Up to this point in Ceremony, the whites seem to be the hegemony; they are constantly trampling on the Native Americans. The reveal that the Native Americans created whites completely shifts the cultural hierarchy. Not only are whites part of the Native American world, they are in invention of it and, furthermore, a malicious invention of its witches. The Native Americans are creating a narrative that puts them as the creators. The creator is often linked to power; they are placing themselves as the dominant culture. No group of people wants their historical narrative forgotten. By recognizing the way history works we can at least try to prevent the ghouls from being lost. Notley is not saying we can prevent there from being ghouls, but we can at least recognize they are there. War is not only fought on the battlefield, it is also fought through stories and literature. Songs and Stories of the Ghouls argues that cultural warfare is done through the attack and destruction of other cultures narratives. History is just the dominant culture creating a narrative. We should acknowledge we are only get one version of history’s narrative; there are ghouls out
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