Books and Movies Reviews

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

Leslie Silko’s Ceremony is a highly informative and insightful work that offers a closer glimpse into the lives of Pueblo people and their culture. The author focuses on the various ceremonies and traditions that are considered essential for spiritual and physical healing in such traditional societies. The story revolves around the disease that Tayo has contracted during wartime and that appears to consume him completely. Through Tayo and two other young men Rocky and Emo, Silko has tried to reveal the inferiority complex that Pueblo youth suffers and the desperation with which they seek access to the world white. These three young men from Laguna enlist in the Army to achieve their ultimate goal of being a part of the white world and so when the recruiter informs them that, “Anyone can fight for America, even you boys.”(p. 64), the three young men are naturally ecstatic.
But their dreams, hopes and aspirations are rudely shaken and shattered by their experience in the army during the Second World War. Rocky dies on the battleground, Emo turns to alcohol to erase painful memories and Tayo becomes a victim of severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
“He couldn’t vomit any more, and the little face was still there, so he cried at how the world had come undone, how thousands of miles, high ocean waves and green jungles could not hold people in their place. Years and months had become weak, and people could push against them and wander back and forth in time.” (18).
This sparks off his quest for a cure and much to his surprise, the white world fails miserably in providing an effective medicine. Tayo realizes that the cure that veterans had succumbed to was anything but a “cure.” It was an illusion, which was only pushing them deeper into the pits of misery and sickness. Veterans had chosen to resort to drinking and sharing stories about witchery of the world that did nothing to decrease the pain. Tayo tried this cure and it only mad…


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