Theme Of Ceremony

Good Essays
Memories, a Source of Healing
“Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
In order to better understand novels we have to look deeper at an author’s purpose in writing and then develop our own understanding of that purpose. Themes in books are used in order to convey messages or to propose an idea to the reader from the author’s viewpoint. Most authors include themes because they allow the reader to get something out of a book, which typically is relative to moral or ethical explanations. Surfacing by Margaret Atwood, Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, and Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison are vastly different novels, but all three have a partial focus on trauma. In all three texts, the theme that memory as a source of
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The main character Tayo has to deal with many psychological traumas and losses such as war trauma, abandonment, fractured identity, destruction of culture, and the death of an uncle. What Silko does differently than many novels is she allows the reader to follow the path of the character as he faces challenges in his healing course. Perhaps the most important aspect of his suffering stems from his mixed blood ethnicity in his native society. To overcome this Tayo uses historical traditions and the memories the ancestral Indians to heal himself and his people. The idea of using a customary ceremony comes early on in the book, “The only cure I know is a good ceremony” (3) and continues on through the whole book as we see an actual ceremony for Tayo occur pages 141-145. Memory is also guiding the healing process for the Laguna Pueblo’s culture as a whole. Josiah’s cattle is used as a symbol for restoration of Tayo and ultimately of the Laguna people. As we follow Tayo’s quest to return the cattle to the homeland we see, “He had been so intent on finding the cattle that he had forgotten all the events of the past days and past years. Hunting the cattle was good for that” (Silko 178). Although this quote can be used a con against the thematic argument and seen as though forgetting has allowed Tayo escape his reality. We know that following this event Tayo has more disturbances in his identity and so it shows that he is not fully or truly healed. Only through finding his personal and ancestral accounts, is he entirely overcome of his trauma and tribulation of his fractured identity. Tayo’s personal and historical memories are ultimately the key factor in the healing process of himself as well as his culture as a
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