Narrative in Silko's" Ceremony" Analytical Essay by Nicky

Narrative in Silko's" Ceremony"
This paper discusses the structure and effect of narrative in Leslie Marmon Silko's work "Ceremony".
# 146856 | 3,700 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2011 | US

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In this article, the writer discusses that though technically told in the third person, Leslie Marmon Silko's debut novel "Ceremony" is in reality the deeply personal account of the protagonist, Tayo, a Native American with an unknown white father struggling to regain a sense of identity upon his return from World War II. The narrative voice Silko employs, though it is in the third person, reflects the confusion, grief, and struggles of the protagonist by giving the reader an explicit window into Tayo's thoughts and feelings. The writer discusses that though the novel's action is primarily devoted to telling the story of one man, in a larger sense the novel reflects the Native American struggle in the modern era, in which they must learn to balance assimilation with tradition, and the destructive tendencies of white people and white culture with the advances they have made. The writer concludes that the themes of isolation and destruction are not typical of traditional Native American myths, and are meant to show Westerners not simply the error of their ways, but the incompatibility of many Western perspectives with the way the world truly is.

From the Paper:

"Modern reality has altered the traditional mode of thinking, and Tayo must bridge this gap by creating and fulfilling a new ceremony that both bonds with and rejects white culture. The narrative style was very carefully crafted to mirror Tayo's journey in this regard.
"Tayo is both Native American and white, though he does not find himself fully accepted into either culture. The narrative style of his story reflects this duality and contrast, as well. At the same time, it is an essentially Native American story in both its subject matter and the manner of its telling. The circularity and reflexivity of the narrative elevates it to the level of myth."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Robert C. Bell. "Circular Design in Ceremony." American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 1, (Feb., 1979), pp. 47-62.
  • Gloria Bird. "Towards a Decolonization of the Mind and Text 1: Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony." Wicazo Sa Review, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Autumn, 1993), pp. 1-8.
  • Nancy Gilderhus. "The Art of Storytelling in Leslie Silko's Ceremony." The English Journal, Vol. 83, No. 2 (Feb., 1994), pp. 70-72.
  • Karen Piper. "Police Zones: Territory and Identity in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony." American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Summer, 1997), pp. 483-497.
  • Leslie Marmon Silko. Ceremony. New York: Penguin, 1986.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

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Narrative in Silko's" Ceremony" (2011, January 19) Retrieved November 28, 2023, from

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"Narrative in Silko's" Ceremony"" 19 January 2011. Web. 28 November. 2023. <>