The Changing Tradition Book Review by Zildjian

The Changing Tradition
An insight into the oral tradition of the Native Americans through a review of Leslie Marmon Silko's book "Ceremony".
# 26680 | 1,582 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2003 | US
Published on May 12, 2003 in Literature (American) , Native-American Studies (General)

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This paper explains how traditions must change over time to remain relevant and shows how Leslie Marmon Silko illustrates the importance of oral tradition and language with Tayo's story in her novel, "Ceremony". It examines how Native Americans believe that when people speak, they exchange spirits and the addition of human breath transforms sounds into words and gives them life. The living word then becomes a part of each individual who hears it which is why oral tradition is so important to them. It compares Auntie and Josiah and how they view tradition and people outside their race and how Silko uses Auntie to represent people who blindly follow the traditions of the past while not believing in the spirit behind them.

From the Paper:

"Oral tradition includes many different forms including "letters, anecdotes, gossip, jokes, poems, legends, family stories, crafted stories that must be included for a person to become self-knowing, to create community and even to comprehend the evil, the witchery, which disrupts community" (Brown). Silko uses many of these forms in Ceremony. The novel, as a whole, is an example of a crafted story. The different components of the novel are also important parts of the oral tradition. Grandma "liked to sit by her stove and gossip about the people who were talking about their family" (Silko 89). As she gossiped, she carried on that tradition. The story of Tayo is also a good example of Silko using the oral tradition, because it is an example of a family story."

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