Essay on Ceremony: Native Americans in the United States and Brand New Ceremony

Submitted By gabbygaby
Words: 575
Pages: 3

3. Why is the novel called CEREMONY? What is the ceremony that is going on in the novel and what purpose does it have? What is the importance of ceremony to the Native Americans in the novel?

In Leslie Marmom Silko’s novel titled Ceremony, the main character Tayo has just returned from World War II. He struggles to find himself and cope with the surrounding environment. Suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, Tayo is both emotionally and physically battered. He survived as a prisoner of war in Japan and must deals with his gruesome memories when he returns to his family on the Laguna Pueblo reservation. Half Native American and half Caucasian, Tayo shows his mixed heritages in his green eyes. He is confused between the two very distinct worlds and does not feel a sense of belonging to either which only adds to his problems.
The novel is titled Ceremony because the only remedy to Tayo’s sickness and depression is through the traditional Native American ceremonies. Tayo forgets the ancient stories in the jungle, and because he forgets the traditions this brings a massive drought upon his reservation for many years. Ku’oosh, the reservation medicine man preforms the first ceremony that happens in the novel. Yet it is of little help because Ku’oosh only knows traditional healing ceremonies, which are not appropriate to the nature of Tayo’s present-day illness. It helps him a little by stimulating thoughts of his childhood. He recalls times of the summer before he and Rocky enlisted in the Army, but most especially the drought that happened that summer. Tayo reminisces on the old stories of how droughts are ended, so he goes to a spring and comes up with a rain ceremony. It worked because the next day it had rained. Tayo is sent to Betonie after Ku’oosh realized his ceremony was not enough. Betonie, a medicine man in the town of Gallup explains that traditions must be reinvented to reflect the recent actuality of the world. He is quite knowledgeable about the problems between the Native American and Caucasian cultures. Tayo tells Betonie about the nature of his troubles, and the medicine man explains that they must invent and take part in a brand