Author: Leslie Marmon Silko
Introduction: Ceremony is a novel written by Leslie Marmon Silko. It
deals with the gender roles of three women are significant to the
development of a character namedd Tayo who is half-white and
half-Indian. These three women are Tayo’s birth mother, Auntie, and
Old Grandma. His mother left him when he was four years old and that
began his sense of emptiness and abandonment. She could not bear to
raise a child that brought the reservation shame by her mistake.
Summary: Auntie raised Tayo and was the mother figure he lacked.
She had no problem accepting to take him, but only to conceal the
shame of her younger sister. Auntie was always hesitant toward Tayo
as he was not her real son and was also a half-breed. For Tayo, this
only added to his feeling of displacement and emptiness. She would
give her affection and attention to her real son Rocky, but would let
Tayo just sit there alone.
After the war Auntie nursed him because he was all she had left after
Rocky got killed. He would wake up crying after dreaming about how
much Josiah had loved him and always hugged him when he was a
littlt child . Now he realized that there was no place left for him and he
would never find peace. Auntie may have been a mother figure to him,
but to Tayo she was just someone who looked after him.
Old Grandma, unlike Auntie, does accept Tayo and wants what is best
for him. When Auntie rejected the idea of a medicine doctor because
he’s not full blood, Old Grandma got angry and said that he was her
grandson and why should she care what they say anyway. She has
been around for many years and doesn’t worry about what other people
will say about Tayo or about their family.
The significance of Montano to the novel, Ceremony is very powerful
and vital to the recovery of Tayo. She lives up in the rim rock and is in
touch with the earth and her surroundings in every way. Being torn
between the white world and the Indian world is what leaves Tayo
feeling invisible and hollow inside. Montano helps him to become
more in touch with his Indian side and to feel the strength and power
from the earth.
She teaches him the importance of certain plants, flowers, and
ceremonies and how they are significant to Indian culture and survival.
Tayo falls in love with her, and through his love, he begins to feel alive
again. He realizes that he does have a place and that he is not invisible
to everyone and to his surroundings. When he is not with her, instead
of the nightmares, she fills his dreams. He woke up one night and
thought about the overpowering love he felt for her. He shed tears
filled his eyes and the ache in his throat ran deep into his chest.
Tayo no longer feels like a walking shadow, but finally a real person
with feelings and emotions. It is through Montano that he discovers
himself and ultimately is able to deal with being a half-breed in a
changing world. When she finally leaves him, he is able to go on living
and remembering all that she taught him.
Conclusion: I really enjoyed this story. It was a great portrayal of how
family might mistreat you just because you are a little different than
them. Sometimes people cant deal with the fact that a family member
is only half of the race that they are. I would definitely recommend this
book to others, especially to anyone who feels that they are secluded
and have no friends just because they are bi-racial.