This essay Ceremony has a total of 1105 words and 6 pages.
They fear the world.
They destroy what they fear.
They fear themselves."
"They will kill the things they fear
all the animals
the people will starve."
"They will fear what they find
They will fear the people
They kill what they fear" (Silko 136).
Leslie Marmon Silko uses these three short passages taken from an ancient Indian story included in the novel Ceremony to express and convey the idea that the white man?s fear was the primary factor contributing to their negative actions toward the Indian people. The ancient Indian story that the passages are pulled from also explains how Indian witchery led to the invention of the white people and all the evil inside of them, causing them to destroy the world and everything else that inhabits it.
When the wind blew the white people across the ocean, thousands of them in giant boats (Silko 136), they were faced with the unfamiliar culture of the Indian people. Besides the fact that the Indians were in their way of expansion and development, the white man feared what they found. They feared an unknown language that they had never heard before and could not understand. They feared rituals and ceremonies that seemed strange and suspicious. They feared a social unity of sharing and togetherness that they found alarming and intimidating.
The Indians woke up one morning to find that the lands they once belonged to were no longer theirs. The deeds and papers said the land now belonged to the white folk. It was taken away from them by sheer physical force, stolen, and they were sent away to live on reservations. Tayo was a part of the Laguna Pueblo reservation.
As a young kid on the Laguna Pueblo reservation, Tayo and the other children were sent away to white schools, and it was mandatory that they did not speak in their native tongue or take part in any of their old ways. The teachers told them to forget what they had learned back on the reservation, that they had no reason to believe the superstitious stories any more. Now they should believe in books and science because they explained the causes and effects (Silko 94). The white man feared the different culture of the Indians, and they wanted the Indians to forget their past so they could easily influence them and make them conform to the white ways. An Indian story says,
"Their evil is mighty
but it can?t stand up to our stories.
So they try to destroy the stories
let the stories be confused or forgotten.
They would like that
They would be happy
Because we would be defenseless then" (Silko 2).
For example, one day Josiah found a bunch of dead flies in the house and confronted Tayo about it. Josiah asked why he did it and Tayo replied that the teacher at school said flies are bad because they carry sickness and disease. The white teachers had taught him something against his culture because Indians are supposed to respect all life forms on the earth. Josiah told him the story of how the greenbottle flies are special messengers and how he should remember the story next time he thinks about killing a fly or any animal for that matter.
Old Betonie, the medicine man, recalled a time when the white people were extremely fearful of Indians. He said, "I was at the World?s fair in St. Louis, Missouri, the year they had Geronimo there on display. The white people were scared to death of him. Some of them even wanted him in leg irons" (Silko 122). Instead of appreciating Geronimo for his unique culture, he was disrespected and treated as a freak show exhibit. The white people did not try to learn about his background or interact with him because they were too fearful to look past his differences and accept him as a fellow human being.
The white man introduced alcohol (firewater) to the Indians in an attempt to control them, manipulate them, and take advantage of them. As the Indian people became more dependent on the alcohol, the white man fed the addiction with more alcohol, more bars, and more liquor stores. The Indian people turned to alcohol to ease their pain and to drown their sorrows, which corresponded perfectly to the plan the white people had in mind. The Indians abandoned their culture and forgot about the ways of old, leaving them
Topics Related to Ceremony
Laguna Pueblo, Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony, Fear, leslie marmon silko, laguna pueblo reservation, social unity, native tongue, negative actions, unknown language, togetherness, white man, rituals, passages, invention, indians, fear, boats, novel, animals
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