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Ceremony Silk O Essay Topics

  • 1

    What is the significance of the poems that appear in Ceremony?

    Some of the poems in Ceremony present parallels to Tayo's spiritual, psychological, and emotional journey. Such parallelism, for instance, is very much the purpose of the poem that describes the Sun's quest to defeat the Gambler (and that thus recalls Tayo's own quest to defeat evil influences on himself and his community). Yet other poems serve different purposes; the poems that open and close the novel underscore the themes of storytelling and healing, respectively, while other poems explain relatively minor characters, such as Betonie's helper Shush.

  • 2

    What is the most important influence on Tayo's healing process?

    Though depicted in a single narrative arc that involves meeting Betonie, finding the cattle, and re-connecting with nature, Tayo's healing process in fact involves several elements. His immersion in Native American tradition and the uncorrupted natural landscape are, undoubtedly, potent therapeutic influences—the most prominent influences in the book perhaps, but not necessarily the most important. Tayo's recovery may be driven just as much, if not even more, by his healthy relationship with Ts'eh. It may even be the case that the recovery is less a reaction to Native American tradition than a reaction against the destructive forces of drink, war, and womanizing, which have so harmed Tayo's peers.

  • 3

    Why is Emo necessary to the narrative?

    On one level, Emo provides Tayo with a clear antagonist; by giving Tayo something other than private emotions or large social forces to struggle against, he helps to structure the narrative of Ceremony. Nonetheless, there are other reasons for Emo's presence and prominence. Emo shows the disruptive effects of war at their most extreme, and manifests bloodthirsty tendencies that the other young men do not necessarily exhibit. He is an instance of the worst possible consequences, but also introduces moral and thematic complexity to the novel. After all, Emo is fully Native American in ethnicity; his loss of basic humanity despite his heritage suggests that the very traditions that Ceremony promotes may be tragically fragile.

  • 4

    How would the novel be different if delivered in first person, from Tayo's point of view?

    If delivered entirely from Tayo's perspective, Ceremony would be forced to sacrifice some of the sections that vary and enrich the novel. The brief yet intense depictions of Josiah and Helen Jean would necessarily be eliminated; these two characters have had experiences that Tayo would never be able to divine on his own. Yet on the level of theme, a first-person version of Ceremony would give Tayo the power to tell his own story in his own voice, and would imply control and coherence in the way Tayo thinks. Tayo's reality, as construed by Silko, is exactly the reverse. He has highly limited control over his life for much of the novel, and has been disoriented by the wartime horrors that he has seen.

  • 5

    Why does Ceremony seldom depict positive aspects of scientific and technological advances?

    Ceremony's bleak view of scientific and technological progress can in some ways be attributed to Silko's uses of perspective. By choosing to focus on Tayo, a young man whose life has been upended by a technologically advanced war, Silko has settled on a protagonist who would have few reasons to see modernity in a positive light. It is also possible that a more ambivalent approach to modernization would have undermined the coherence of the entire narrative. The choice to largely avoid the benefits of medicine, transportation, and education allows Silko to focus on a single aspect of technology, the ravages of war, and to explore it in depth.

  • The Theme of Silko's Ceremony Essay

    1114 Words5 Pages

    Knowing Oneself, Knows the World

    The colonization of civilizations has changed the world’s history forever. From the French, Spaniard, and down to the English, have changed cultures, traditions, religions, and livelihoods of other societies. The Native Americans, for example, were one of the many civilizations that were conquered by the English. The result was their ways of life based on nature changed into the more “civilized” ways of the colonists of the English people. Many Native Americans have lost their old ways and were pulled into the new “civilized” ways. Today only a small amount of Native American nations or tribes exist in remote areas surviving following their traditions. In the book Ceremony, a story of a man named…show more content…

    In addition to his external struggle in finding his true definition, Tayo also faced internal conflicts because of his uncertainty of himself. Belonging to two different race categories was only the beginning of his struggles because “he wasn’t sure any more what to believe… He wasn’t sure.” His Native American side showed enthusiasm for learning its ways but his minimal knowledge of it would turn into hesitance and he is unable to practice it. Old Betonie, a medicine man who also was not full-blooded Native American, was one of Tayo’s ways of finding out his roots but all he thought about with the first sight of the medicine man was to run away. As old Betonie pointed out, “If you don’t trust me, you better keep going… Anyway I couldn’t help anyone who was afraid of me.” He mistrusted the “half-breed” person that can teach him the right way to live, not as a Native American or a Caucasian alone, but as a human being. However, Tayo’s mistrust and ignorance pulled him into a deeper confusion of he was because he would rather in a hospital where he was, “invisible…(and) wasn’t afraid” because he “didn’t feel things sneaking up behind,” him. Although Tayo did not realize that denying the guidance offered by old Betonie will help him unlock his true essence. However, the truth is difficult to accept and takes time to be understood therefore, Tayo is no different. His comprehension for old Betonie’s talk about the “ceremony” was not being established because

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