Analysis of Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

Length: 3 Pages 761 Words

In the novel, Silko explores the gender roles of four women and the significance to the development and actualization of Tayo’s character. These four women are Tayo’s birth mother, Auntie, old Grandma, and Ts’eh (a Montano). Because Tayo is of mixed ancestry, half white and half Native American, Tayo discovers he has a “natural” cultural flaw imposed upon him at birth, which would linger and expand into adulthood. At four years old, Tayo’s birth mother left him with his Aunt and Grandmother so they could raise him as their own due to her alcohol addiction and vicarious life-style. “He didn’t remember much: only that she (mother) had come after dark and wrapped him in a man’s coat – it smelled like a man – and that there were men in the car with them . . . he clung to her because when she left him, he knew she would be gone for a long time . . . there were tears all over his face and his nose was running (Silko 65-66).” Nonetheless, Tayo’s sense of emptiness and abandonment began. Auntie raised Tayo and was the mother figure he lacked. However, Auntie reluctantly accepted this respons Continue...


' However, Grandma stated "he's my grandson. Being torn between the white world and the Indian world and the unfortunate circumstances of his upbringing, leaves Tayo feeling invisible and hollow inside. Auntie would give her affection and attention to her natural son Rocky, and would intentionally make Tayo feel excluded. She teaches him the importance of certain plants, flowers, and ceremonies and how they are significant to Native American culture and survival. Thus, after falling deeply in love with her, Tayo begins to feel alive again. For Tayo, this only added to his feeling of displacement and the feeling of being "invisible (Ibid 14). If I send for old Ku'oosh, he'll come. On the other hand, Auntie willingly accepted Tayo to "conceal the shame of her younger sister (Ibid 29). Otherwise, he will have to go away, Auntie retaliated with "Oh, I don't know, Mama. ibility because she could not bear to raise a child that brought the reservation shame by his mother's mistake. After the war, Auntie nursed Tayo because "he was all she had left (Ibid 29) after Rocky was killed in action and Josiah had passed. This contradiction, made Auntie hesitant toward Tayo as he was not her real son and was also a "half-breed.