Comparing Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko and Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

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Stories are powerful devices that “are all we have, you see, to fight off illness and death” (Silko 1). Within the novels Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko and Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, stories serve exactly this purpose. Each protagonist, Tayo and Haroun respectively, has an obstacle they must overcome. Tayo is a Native American World War II veteran who suffers from an illness of the mind, which is implied to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He is told that a Ceremony is the only way to cure him. The ceremony mentioned involves stories. Haroun is a young Indian boy who has gone through tragedy at a young age. His mother has left and his father has lost his job as a storyteller. Haroun feels that both of these occurrences are his fault. Stories are how Haroun saves his sad city, his father’s job, and brings his mother back. Both of the protagonists have burdens to carry upon their shoulders. The authors, though from two different cultures, use stories in their novels in similar fashions: as healing devices. This proves that stories are universal elements that can be utilized in the same way no matter what the culture.
In both Ceremony and Haroun and the Sea of Stories, stories are central elements that show up constantly throughout each novel. They are woven through each novel like a spider web. The spider web is also a metaphor Silko uses for fragility. In these novels stories are fragile and constantly in jeopardy. The antagonists in each book “try to destroy the stories” (Silko 2). In Ceremony the destroyer of stories is forgetfulness. Tayo, a racially mixed individual, must remember his Native American heritage to cure himself of the illness from which he suffers. Alana Brown author of “Pulling Silko’s ...

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King, Thomas. The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. Print.
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Rushdie, Salman. Haroun and the Sea of Stories. London: Penguin Books. 1990. Print.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. New York: Penguin Books. 1977. Print.
“Sir Salman Rushdie”. Encyclopedia Britannica. 2013. Britannica Online. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
Teverson, Andrew S. "Fairy Tale Politics: Free Speech and Multiculturalism In Haroun And The Sea Of Stories." Twentieth Century Literature 47.4 (2001): 444. Academic Search Premier. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.

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