Essay on Silko's Ceremony and the Hermeneutic Circle

Essay on Silko's Ceremony and the Hermeneutic Circle

Length: 2009 words (5.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Silko's Ceremony and the Hermeneutic Circle

 
      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...


... middle of paper ...


...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.

 

Works Cited

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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko Essay examples

- The novel Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko follows a young man, Tayo through his journey beginning when he returns home to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation, from World War Two; and is very ill. During the narrative Silko introduces us to Tayo's life before the war, which gives insight to reasons of why Tayo is ill. Through out his illness Tayo goes through many ceremonies both literally and metaphorically to try to cure his ailment. One of the ceremonies that is performed, is lead by Old Ku'oosh, the medicine man, where he performs a cleansing ceremony for someone who has killed someone in battle, even though Tayo doesn't recall killing anyone....   [tags: Ceremony Leslie Silko]

Free Essays
1660 words (4.7 pages)

Leslie Silko's Ceremony Essay

- In Ceremony, Leslie Silko brilliantly crosses racial styles of humor in order to cure the foolish delusions readers may have, if we think we are superior to Indians or inferior to whites, or perhaps superior to whites or inferior to Indians. Silko plays off affectionate Pueblo humor against the black humor so prominent in 20th-century white culture. This comic strategy has the end-result of opening our eyes to our general foolishness, and also to the possibility of combining the merits of all races....   [tags: Ceremony Essays]

Powerful Essays
2125 words (6.1 pages)

Essay on Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony

- Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony Over the years, after wars and famine, peace-time and floods, few things have persisted to survive. Society, art, and other intangible objects as these are survivors of two millennia of human “progress”. Intelligent concepts and premises have also survived, as have emotions and morals. Even as these outstanding examples of humanity have survived, so have some less affirmative ideals lived on through our fore-bearers. Cultural, ideological, religious, and political supremacy are still abound today, as much as they were 50, 100, and even 5,000 years ago....   [tags: Leslie Marmon Silko Ceremony Racism Essays]

Powerful Essays
1781 words (5.1 pages)

Cultural Healing in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony Essay example

- Cultural Healing in Ceremony     Leslie Marmon Silko is a Native American from New Mexico and is part of the Laguna tribe.  She received a MacArthur "genius" award and was considered one of the 135 most significant women writers ever.  Her home state has named her a living cultural treasure.  (Jaskoski, 1)  Her well-known novel Ceremony follows a half-breed named Tayo through his realization and healing process that he desperately needs when he returns from the horrors of World War II.  This is a process that takes him back to the history of his culture.        Tayo returns home when World War II ends in 1945.  He feels alienated from his home and hardly desires to live any lo...   [tags: Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony]

Powerful Essays
2481 words (7.1 pages)

Essay about Analysis of Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko

- People often feel that their opinions do not matter, that they cannot make a difference. This is untrue, one person does have the ability to change an outcome, halt or finalize a decision, and even build or destroy a culture. In the novel Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko, this is witnessed in the character Auntie, a dominating, selfish woman who will do anything to gain a respectable status in the community. In an attempt to gain acceptance from both Native and Western societies, Auntie metaphorically "kills" her own child which in turn destroys the Native American culture....   [tags: Ceremony Essays]

Free Essays
411 words (1.2 pages)

Essay on Race in Silko's Ceremony

- Ceremony      Throughout Ceremony, the author, Leslie Silko, displays the internal struggle that the American Indians faced at that time in history. She displays this struggle between good and evil in several parts of the book. One is the myth explaining the origin of the white man.      As common in Indian cultures they create a myth to explain why the white people came to them. The author begins to show the Indians feeling of hopelessness by showing in the myth, on pages 132 - 138, that there was no way the Indians could stop the white people from destroying the Indian culture....   [tags: Leslie Silko]

Powerful Essays
620 words (1.8 pages)

Interpretive Richness of Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony Essay

- The interpretative richness of Silko’s Ceremony Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony is the extraordinary tale of Tayo, a mixed-blood Native American in his long quest to cure the suffering that afflicts him and his people. The novel is complex enough that it can be interpreted in the context of starkly different paradigms, each highlighting important facets of the story. For instance, in the article “Feminine perspectives at Laguna Pueblo: Silko’s Ceremony,” Edith Swan offers a (symbolic) analysis of the plethora of important female characters in the novel that is based on a deliberately unicultural, Laguna worldview on the grounds that “[...] western presumptions must be set aside so that they...   [tags: Silkos Silko]

Powerful Essays
1749 words (5 pages)

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko Essay

- The inherent desire to belong to a group is one that is fundamental to human nature. In his article “Evolution and Our Inner Conflict,” Edward O. Wilson writes, “A person’s membership in his group – his tribe – is a large part of his identity.” Wilson explores multilevel group selection and the proclivity for people to define themselves based on their belonging to the group. He goes on to say that people often form these groups with those who look like them and belong to the same culture or ethnic group....   [tags: inherent desire to belong to a group]

Powerful Essays
858 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on The Theme of Silko's Ceremony

- Knowing Oneself, Knows the World      The colonization of civilizations has changed the world’s history forever. From the French, Spaniard, and down to the English, have changed cultures, traditions, religions, and livelihoods of other societies. The Native Americans, for example, were one of the many civilizations that were conquered by the English. The result was their ways of life based on nature changed into the more “civilized” ways of the colonists of the English people. Many Native Americans have lost their old ways and were pulled into the new “civilized” ways....   [tags: Leslie Marmon Silko]

Powerful Essays
1111 words (3.2 pages)

Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony Essay

- The central conflict of Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony is Tayo's struggle to gain psychological wholeness in the face of various traumatic experiences, ranging from a troubled childhood to cultural marginalization and combat experiences during World War II. Throughout the novel, the key to Tayo's psychological recovery is his rediscovery of Native American cultural practices. Most of the crucial turning points in the novel occur when Tayo listens to, takes part in, or learns more about Native American cultural traditions....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Psychology]

Powerful Essays
1674 words (4.8 pages)