Ceremony is a novel meant to change us. It is a story, which instructs and enlightens, but it is also a tool for relating. It is useful in an extremely practical sense: It teaches us about being connected to our world, about difference and the other. These are only a couple of the possible tangible effects the book has on readers, and truly, the limiting factor in the number of possible uses for Ceremony is simply the number of individuals who read it. One of the individuals who has read Ceremony and outlined the impact the novel had on her is Alanna Kathleen Brown, a professor from the English department at Montana State University, whose essay is entitled "Pulling Silko's Threads Through Time: An Exploration of Storytelling." She is not a Native American, but has found all kinds of ways of interacting with the text. She has brought Native American storytelling, and with it many different tribal attitudes, into her own life, and attributes much of this to Silko's style of storytelling. Silko creates a ceremony-written-down that a reader can engage with on an active level. Between Silko's story, and style of storytelling, and Brown's reading, there is room for another literary theory that can shed light on why so many non-Indians can relate to Native American Literature, and this theory seems custom built for Ceremony. It is the idea of the Hermeneutic Circle, an ancient idea in European literary thinking, but a useful one that relates literature in many of the same ways Silko and her peers do. Hans-Georg Gadamer, a major player in hermeneutic circles, describes the basic goal of literature: and hermeneutics: "something distant has to be brought close, a certain strangeness...
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...merican culture of a time in which stories were a community-based endeavor, as they remain in large part in Native American communities. By capturing this community spirit, Silko has created a novel that, while completely Native American and tribal in form and content, transcends any cultural, racial or ethnic barriers and succeeds at interacting with the reader. Any reader.
Abrams, MH. A Glossary of Literary Terms, 6th ed. USA: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1993.
Brown, Alanna Kathleen. "Pulling Silko's Threads Through Time: An Exploration of Storytelling". American Indian Quarterly Spring 1995: 171-179.
Colborn, Benjamin. "Becoming at Home Through Reading: Excursing and Returning in the Hermeneutic Circle". Presented at the 1998 National Undergraduate Literature Conference.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.
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