Tayo In Ceremony

1478 Words6 Pages

The power of stories manifests itself in literature, film, and more generally life. Stories inspire, provide hope, and bring understanding. Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Ceremony permeates the strength of stories. Ceremony follows the story of Tayo, a half white Native American plagued by the invasion of European culture, as well as his own past of war and loss. However, through the folk stories of his Laguna culture, as well as the advice he has been given to embrace his past, Tayo is able to see the world more clearly. He is also able to reconnect to the traditions of his ancestors through these stories, which in turn allows him to synthesize the events of his own life. The constantly evolving folk tales and recollections of Tayo’s experiences …show more content…

While searching for his herd, Tayo encounters Ts’eh, who imparts some of her wisdom upon him. They work on a ceremony together, and Tayo notices, “‘It’s almost gone,’ he said. ‘The clay is washing away,’ she said. ‘Nobody has come to paint it since the war. But as long as you remember what you have seen, then nothing is gone. As long as you remember, it is part of this story we have together’” (Silko 215). By partaking in this ceremony, Tayo is honoring the stories of the past, this allows him to connect to the continuous and ever-evolving tradition of his culture. Ts’eh also emphasizes the strength of experiences, memories, and stories. Tayo, also as a part of his quest, encounters a mountain lion. He exclaims, “‘Mountain lion, becoming what you are with each breath, your substance changing with the earth and sky.’ The mountain lion blinked his eyes; there was no fear” (Silko 182). The stories of Tayo’s past of herding the cattle with his uncle Josiah and the stories Betonie has told have inspired Tayo to venture to reclaim the cattle. In this quest nature throws him around and beats him up, but he also grows closer to the natural world, as seen with his comfort with the mountain lion. Silko also uses the mountain lion to show how Tayo and the natural …show more content…

The story of the Gambler connects quite directly to Tayo’s experience. Silko says the Gambler, “captured the stormclouds” (Silko 159), in the same way that Tayo’s prayer in the jungle causes a drought. The clouds remain trapped in the Gambler’s cave for three years, the same number of years the drought Tayo caused lasts. Eventually the Sun, their father, notices that the clouds have disapeared, and “he went looking for them… Spiderwoman was waiting for him” (Silko 160). The Sun ventures on a quest, guided by Spiderwoman, to release the rain. Tayo’s quest to bring the rain back, guided by Betonie and Ts’eh, is the evolved, modern version of this story. Eventually, Tayo realizes this for himself. After years of growing, fighting, listening, and persevering, Tayo is able to bring the events of his life together. Once this happens, “He cried the relief he felt at finally seeing the pattern, the way all the stories fit together - the old stories, the war stories, their stories - to become the story that was still being told. He was not crazy; he had never been crazy. He had only seen and heard the world as it always was: no boundaries, only transitions through all distances and time” (Silko 229). The stories that Tayo has been told, the stories that Silko tells, they all

Open Document