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Ceremony Paper Essay Research Paper In the

Ceremony Paper Essay, Research Paper In the novel Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, we see how Tayo(the main character) a half breed being half Indian and half White appreciatesand accepts his Indians roots more than the full breed Indians that have gone tothe war as well as his Aunt. It is ironic how a person like Tayo is not accepted byeither cultures, but at the same time he wants to be a part of his Indian culturewhile people like his cousin Rocky, his aunt, and the other Indian veterans wantto be a part of what they believe is a “superior” culture, the white culture.

Ceremony Paper Essay, Research Paper

In the novel Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, we see how Tayo(the main character) a half breed being half Indian and half White appreciatesand accepts his Indians roots more than the full breed Indians that have gone tothe war as well as his Aunt. It is ironic how a person like Tayo is not accepted byeither cultures, but at the same time he wants to be a part of his Indian culturewhile people like his cousin Rocky, his aunt, and the other Indian veterans wantto be a part of what they believe is a “superior” culture, the white culture. Dueto Tayo not being accepted by either culture he is as well forced to isolatehimself specially from The Indian culture and is unable to deal with his emotionsand problems that he was faced with because no one, such as his aunt hadmade it evident since his youth that he was not part of the family and thereforemust learn by himself how to deal with his problems. Since Tayo was born he was looked down upon just because of themere fact that his mother slept with white men. Ever since he was young andlived with his mother’s family members, his aunt made sure that he realize thatfor her as well as the other Indians he will always be looked at as an outsidereven amongst his own family members. It was a private understanding between the two of them. When Josiah or old Grandma or Robert was there, the agreement was suspended, and she pretended to treat him the same as she treated Rocky, but they both knew it was only temporary…. She was careful that Rocky did not share these things with Tayo, that they kept a distance between themselves and him. But she would not let Tayo go outside or play in another room alone. She wanted him close enough to feel excluded..(67) This however did not affect the relationship between his cousinRocky who he learned to love as a brother and his uncle Josiah and hisGrandma. The only person who saw Tayo as a disgrace to the family was hisaunt and she felt that because of this now she had to work harder to show therest of the community that she was a good aunt and that she had to deal withmuch suffering. . The reasons behind why she feels ashamed of her sister and hernephew is rather ironic however.. She feels ashamed because her sister waswith a white man and had a white man’s child, but at the same time she wantsher son Rocky to be part of that White society that she has looked down upon inTayo. Rocky, who is a full breed Indian, does not believe in and is ashamed ofhis culture. He sees his culture as old fashion and superstitious. He believes inthe white man’s answers to the questions that life brings up. He turns to thesciences and a white man’s logic to find answers to his questions and looksdown upon Medicine Men like Ku’oosh who are very wise and have the answersthat he is looking for. Those books are written by scientist. They know everything there is to know about beef cattle. That’s the trouble with the way the people around here have always done things-they never knew what they were doing.” (76)The only one that can be blamed for this is Tayo’s aunt. She has always wantedher son to succeed in the white man’s society and if it meant forgetting aboutyour culture then that should be the way. She wanted him to be a success. She could see what white people wanted in an Indian, and she believed this way was his only chance. She saw it as her only chance too, after all the village gossip about their family. When Rocky was a success, no one would dare to say anything against them anymore. (51)The aunt did not understand what it was that she was actually acuring by lettingher son forget about his own culture and embrace a culture in which he doesnot belong to. Even if he did embrace that culture and would live amongst thewhite people, he would have never been looked as a part of their society, butas an outcast like Tayo. These, however, were not the only people that thought the sameway. The Indian men who Tayo and Rocky fought along with in the war also hadsomewhat of the same thinking pattern. While they were U.S. Marines in theiruniforms they were given respect. However, the respect that they were given,was not because they were Indians who were wearing uniforms, but becausethey were soldiers and therefore they were the same as any other White manfighting in the same war. The were saluted and thought of as brave and whenthey went to bars or to the stores they were given respect and they were looked upon as soldiers fighting the “White” man’s war. “White women never looked atme until I put on that uniform, and then by God I was a U.S. Marine and theycame crowding around… ” (40) That was everything that they have ever wantedfrom these white people. The truth hit them when they returned from the war and they were

once again treated as Indians. Soldiers like Emo and Harley bought into thatfake ideal world that the white people were putting in front of them. In realitythough, the white people did not care for making these Indians a part of them. What they cared about was the fact that these were people that were buying intothere “fighting for their country” slogans. ” ‘Anyone can fight for America,’ hebegan, giving special emphasis to ‘America,’ ‘even you boys in a time of need, anyone can fight for her.’ ” (64) It was very subtle, but what this quote comesright down and says is the fact that when these white people need help, theneveryone is part of “America” and everyone is equal. People like Rocky, Harley, and Emo played into this because they saw it as way to be like the white peoplethat had power.. Even though they always fought and argued about how thewhite man took away their land and how the white man pushed them away fromwhat was rightfully theirs, they go ahead and fight for what is conveniently nowtheir country as well. Once they returned and the war was over, the Whitesociety again treated them as before, never once acknowledging that thosemen went and fought in the war and died like a white man for their sacred White”America”. I’m half-breed. I’ll be the first to say it. I’ll speak for both sides. First time you walked down the street in Gallup or Albuquerque, you knew. Don’t lie. You knew right away. The war was over, the uniform was gone. All of a sudden that man at the store makesyou wait until all the white people bought what they wanted. And the white lady at the bus depot, she’s real careful now not to touch your hand when she counts out your change. You watch it slide across the counter at you, and you know Goddamn it! You stupid sonofabitches! You know! (42) The only person in the war that did not play into the white man’slies was Tayo. He did not know who he was and how to deal with all theproblems that he was surrounded by, but what he did know was that there hadto be a way out of feeling the way he did. And the only was that this was goingto take place was if he stop keeping all his fears and angers in his stomach andstart to realize that there is an easier and a better way to handle them. sinceTayo was never able to fully relate to either one of his roots he felt that he had tokeep to himself and endure all the pain. Every time that Tayo had those pains inhis belly they were caused because of bad memories or when he would hear theother Indian talk about either his childhood or his experience in the war. Hecould not help put transfer all his grief and pain to his belly. He shivered because all the facts, all the reasons made no difference any more; he could hear Rocky’s words, and he could follow the logic of what Rocky said, but he could not feel anything except a swelling in his belly. (9)He was not able to deal with all the pain that the war caused him and thereforewhen returning back home he was put in a mental hospital, because theythought that it would be the best for him. The only explanation that they had forTayo’s condition was that it was battle fatigue, again, the white man’s answer toan Indian problem. The only way that Tayo, could feel some what better was byvomiting every time that he would feel that pain in his belly. “The swelling waspushing against his throat, and he leaned against the brick wall and vomited intothe big garbage can.” (18) What we are seeing here is that by him constantlyvomiting it is a way for him to get rid of all his pain and suffering. Tayo thinks thathe actually is vomiting all the pain out of his system because he believes that hehas consolidated all in one place. His belly and that all that he has to do isempty it out. He does not understand that he can not solve his problems likethat. the only way that he will be able to get rid of all the pain and suffering is byfacing it and dealing with it. this is something that he does do and that it takesinto account Tayo being accepted as an Indian which at the end of the novel iswhat has happened. Ku’oosh has been able to help Tayo because what heneeded all along was an Indian cure. Not a medical white cure for an Indianproblem, such as Tayo’s that can only be cured amongst themselves. What this novel has done is brought out what racism and how itaffects everyone. The sad thing about it though is that this is racism amongst asame culture and worst of all amongst family members. We have to remembernot to play into the white man’s world because the only thing that it is doing iddividing a beautiful culture that has a right to spread and be free from ignorance. All of us are equal, but yet we still think that we are better then others and untilwe think otherwise we will continue to breakup cultures that have as much rightto stay strong as ours. WORK CITED Marmon Silko, Leslie. Ceremony. New York: The Viking Press 1977

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