The Value of Narrative in Ceremony

808 Words4 Pages
The Value of Narrative in Ceremony The story is the most powerful and most compelling form of human expression in Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Ceremony. Stories reside within every part of every thing; they are essentially organic. Stories are embedded with the potential to express the sublime strength of humanity as well as the dark heart and hunger for self destruction. The process of creating and interpreting stories is an ancient, ongoing, arduous, entangled, but ultimately rewarding experience. As Tayo begins to unravel his own troubled story and is led and is led toward this discovery, the reader is also encouraged on a more expansive level to undertake a similar interpretive journey. Each story is inextricably bound to a virtually endless narrative chain. While reaching an epiphanal moment, a moment of complete clarity, l is by no means guaranteed, by presenting Tayo as an example, Silko at least suggests there is fundamental worth in pursuing and creating stories. Silko counsels that the story's potential for good or ill should not be easily discounted or dismissed. She seems to understand all too well that human beings house both virtuous and vicious impulses; our stories are infused with both the sinister and the sublime. There is a unifying, mythical or archetypal realm which exists just beyond the scope of individual consciousness. Stories are tethered to and wound around this insubstantial place, and the power of each story is firmly rooted in this connection. The novel, presented as a series of disjointed, possibly problematic, narrative frames, attempts to draw attention to this fact. "...no word exists alone, and the reason for choosing each word had to be explained with a stor... ... middle of paper ... ...toward the close of the novel that "He had only heard and seen the world as it had always was: no boundaries, only transitions through all distances and time" (246). Ironically, though these transitions, changes in the specific vernacular or ritual may be significant from generation to generation, the underlying theme remains constant: we are inseparable from the universe. "I already heard these stories before... only thing is the names sound different" (260). Within the self imposed boundaries of the text, each story creates new space for thoughts and emotions which are common to the human condition. Perhaps because the story houses the possibility for our ultimate destruction or redemption, Silko describes the story, its creation, its meaning, as the defining moment of humanity. Work Cited: Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.
Open Document