The Oral Tradition Of Storytelling

1510 Words Dec 8th, 2015 7 Pages
In Silko’s “Lullaby”, the role of storytelling in her Native American culture seems to be a central theme and translates the oral tradition of storytelling into a written English essay. The narrator Ayah doesn’t tell her story to anyone in particular, but instead she reminiscences on a story that weaves her past memories and her present happenings through a series of associations, rather than in a set chronological order. In addition to the focus on the oral tradition of storytelling, Silko is concerned with the ways in which Native American traditions can be adapted to the contemporary circumstances of Native American life and the difference between her culture and the white culture. Her characters are often caught between a traditional and a modern way of life when it comes to nature, raising the issue of environmental racism throughout the story.
In the essay, Ayah recalls some of the traditions her mother taught her, such as weaving blankets on a loom outside, while her grandmother spun the yarn from wool. This memory is in relation to the use of the old blanket her son Jimmie sent home from the war for her. She also mentions her worn shoes in the snow that she compares to the warm buckskin moccasins Native Americans used to wear. At the end when we read about Chato’s death, Ayah sings a lullaby she remembers that was sung by her grandmother. These parts of the story show that important events in life, such as the death of a loved one, serve an important purpose, even in…
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