Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What do I think of this book?
That is hard to say. It is simultaneously real, symbolic, metaphorical, painful, inspiring and confusing. But I kind of thing that was the point.
To go all 9th grade level lit analysis...I thought the troubled outsider Native American returning WWII vet was not an example of a unique sociological type, but rather is a version of that part of us that quietly and perhaps painfully, lives with the repressed alienation that comes with being human in the “modern” world.
Sometimes maudlin literary criticism can say more than a more distant mature and measured approach.
So, I may have loved this book.
I wonder what the more scholarly view is, in that this book spoke about that super cool part of the Native American soul, the idea that there is Unity between us and the Universe.
"He cried the relief he felt at finally seeing the pattern, the way all the stories fit together...to become the story that as being told. He was not crazy.; he had never been crazy. He had only seen and heard the word Pg 246
Story also reenforces a notion that has bugged me off and on my whole life, that the way we live our lives is fundamentally flawed. Yet there is a “right” way to live. And one part is to be careful about words.
...no word existed alone , and the reason for choosing each word and the reason for choosing each word had to be explained with a story about why it mus be said this certain way . That was the responsibility of being human , old Ku'oosh said, the story behind each word must be told so there could be no mistake in the meaning of what had been said; and this demand great patience and love. Pg35
Key to the tale is the belief that the modern disregard for the natural world is caused but destroyers that tricked the white men into pursuing their march of destruction thinking it a virtue while actually killing our souls. These destroyers were created and use “witchery” to carry out this plan. And part of this evil is founded on an approach that view the world from a static, maybe you could say scientific perspective and not a more ambiguous in its essence.
She taught me this above all else: things which don't shift and grow are dead things. They are things the witchery people want. Pg 126
There is a poem describing the witchery world view
They see no life
When they look
they see only objects.
The world is a dead thing for them
the trees and the rivers are not alive
The deer and bear are objects
they see no life
Oh yeah, the “Ceremony” is more than pretty cool I think but to find out what it is, you will have to read the book yourself!*
*I slipped back into 9th grade book report model
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