Leslie Marmon Silko uses the idea of being speckled and/or spotless in her book Ceremony. To try to be spotless is the Laguna people trying to become a part of white society, hence, becoming separated from the Earth and from the roots, tradition, beliefs, rituals and customs of the Native American way. It is letting in white society with the belief that it can somehow improve you. It is destructive change that takes a person away from the Earth. It is change that specifies and names possessions and makes you question your own beliefs.
On the other hand, being speckled is learning and shifting with this clash of cultures in order for it not to interfere and destroy you. It is a change that helps you beat white society by not conforming to, but adapting to it. It is the idea togetherness and faithfulness in your own tradition and heritage and the idea of being one with nature (land, water, animals, etc.). This idea can be seen in Josiah's special breed of cattle.
Josiah breeds a new kind of cattle. They are spotted and skinny -- don't drink much water or don't eat much. Most everyone around him deems them worthless. These spots show a contradiction to traditional, spotless "white face" cattle. Traditional cattle cannot survive because they have been separated from the land so that they are no longer wild. They are scared lost and unfamiliar to the Earth. They are a fenced possession of man, not the land.
This is representative of characters like Tayo, Emo, Rocky and Harley, who have been separated from their culture because of the white man's war for so long, they don't know how to react now that they are back (Blumenthal, 368). In Ceremony, Josiah says, "Cattle are like any living thing. If you separate them from the land ...
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...ite society is just an illusion.
Blumenthal, Susan. "Spotted Cattle and Deer: Spirit Guides and Symbols of Endurance and Healing in Ceremony." The American Indian Quarterly. 14 (Fall 1990) : 367-77
Cutchins, Dennis. " `So That the Nations May Become Genuine Indian': Nativism and Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony." Journal of American Culture 22.4 (1999) : 77-89.
Kilgore, Tracy Y., East Tennessee State University. " The Story is Everything: The Path to Renewal in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony. " East Tennessee State University, 2003.
Reck, Alexandra. "Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony: An Exploration of Characters and Themes." http://www.georgetown.edu/faculty/bassr/218/projects/reck/alr.htm (6 Dec. 2005)
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. New York: Penguin Books, 1986