Postcolonial Feminist Magical Realism
This week’s reading was base on “Post-colonial” Feminist Magical Realism by Leslie Marmon Silko, entitle Ceremony. The book Ceremony tells the story the Native Americans on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation where the author grew up as a child. Geographically, the Laguna Reservation lies between Albuquerque and Los Alamos, New Mexico. Historically, the Native Americans particularly Pueblo came into contact with Spaniard settlers in the 16th Century and became part of Mexico in the 1800s after their independence from Spain.
Ceremony sets the stage of a Veteran and resident of Laguna Pueblo Reservation Tayo returning home from serving his country during the wars of World War II. Silko’s use of the combination of prose and poetry to convey the story of Tayo and his people shows the brilliance of her masterpiece. Tayo used alcohol as a self-medication strategy to overcome his mental health conditions of post-traumatic stress disorder that he generated from the war, a strategy that is common amongst addicts. However, this resulted into minimum comfort, which lasted temporarily. He and his friends discussed the prestige and respect they were given while in uniform and how those respect degenerated when they were no longer wearing the uniforms. Tayo, discontented with his current state reflects on the injustices and discriminations that his people went through during the early periods of their nation’s history from the hands of the 'white settlers' who later became their oppressors. Lost in the midst of his personal troubles and turbulence and those of the society caused by the white against his people and nation, Tayo wonders that it would be far better to stay at the veteran’s hospital where he assumes he can be treated with respect. It was against this background, that his grandmother consulted a medicine man that performs some traditional ceremony specifically for returning warriors who fought and killed during war. Nevertheless, Tayo seems reluctant that these views and practices are not applicable to “modern life.” His medical conditions were not solved by the medicine man’s enchantment and traditional warrior dance, but it prompted him to reconsider himself from the perspective of his childhood in Laguna Pueblo. Tayo’s was recommended to another medicine man in a nearby town that has enough clues of his conditions and its connections to the white man. He was told to return home, but his healing was still in progress and that he would have to observe specific signs and things to avoid.
On his way home with Josiah and the livestock, Tayo felt cured but later became the targets of a plot by a white police. He was briefed on how to avoid arrest by the police and escaped the situation. Escaping from this situation, Tayo finds himself in a mine, which symbolizes the culture of the white man and relates directly to the last phase of his ceremony. He survived through the night with nature gift of the wind and upon dawn, he returned to Ku’oosh. Ku’oosh acknowledged that Ts'eh was in fact A'moo'ooh and that she has bestowed her blessings on Tayo.