“Ceremony” by Leslie Marmon Silko Book Review

Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel “Ceremony” represents a broad range of issues in its plot. Those include the ethically ambiguous people discrimination issue; the physical and psychological effect, left on a soldier in times of The World War II; and the issue of poverty. Moreover, the plot represents a fantastical description of the European travelers’ intrusion into the American lands, characterized as “witchery” and the powers of evil by the local shaman Betonie. On the one side of the raised problem, white people are referred to as unearthly, evil creatures of the devil, sent by the witches to bring chaos and destruction; but on the other hand, these people did not act in order to fulfill their own wishes and intents of destruction. The following essay is going to analyze the represented earlier question of Silko’s masterfully written fantasy book “Ceremony” and characterize the plot background of this issue.

Talking about the premises of the witchery-related assumption, it is quite strongly required to fully comprehend the meaning of the background events, taking place in the narration before the main character’s decision to heal and recover with the help of a witch-doctor. After the beginning of the text, accompanied by mystical, slightly intimidating series of poems, the main character of the story is introduced to the reader – with all of his scars, fears of the painful past – cruel and merciless war. As the story of Tayo’s past and present location at his relatives’ household unfolds, it becomes clear that Tayo deeply wishes to reduce, if not get rid of the spirits, haunting his conscience up until the present day, which serves as the main reason for the man to seek a piece of advice from the local witch doctor Betonie. At first, the main character doubted the usefulness and relevance of such help because the shaman’s shady reputation often became an object of rumors and suspicion. However, in the end, Betonie told the main character a lot about his ancestry’s past and his assumption, that white people, as the children of witchery schemes, invaded America in order to turn the new-found lands into the chaos (Silko 125).

Thus, the represented suggestion creates a question in heads of the “Ceremony” readers – whether the Europeans-settlers of America was portrayed as the pure evil, or simply pawns in the hands of the powerful creatures, unknown to the mere limited human mind. However, in this case, the answer to such a question could not possibly be univocal and left without a shadow of a doubt. From the perspective of the “Ceremony’s” shaman Betonie, from the told by him legends and his Indian ancestry, the European familiarization with the Native Americans’ culture, whether it was made in a rough or in a diplomatic way, it was considered an invasion to their homelands, an insult and absolute disrespect. Just like that, it is undoubtedly not a surprise to contemplate the Native Americans’ opinion of the European travelers’ discovery of their country shift from non-acquaintance at all to fear, fury, disgust and a broad spectrum of other extremely negative emotions. Consequently, the white people were regarded by the natives and depicted in the folktales as demonic monsters, as the children of witchcraft and evil forces. Nevertheless, the existence of an opposing point of view on this question – freeing the white men from the slander and blame of all of the possible problems, believing that these people are not the primary source of evil but merely nobody in control of the “Destroyers”; doesn’t really make the answer to the represented question become less ambiguous.

Works Cited

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. Penguin Books, 2006.

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: April 1, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: April 1, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: April 1, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: April 1, 2020]