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Lets go leslie - Dylan Douglas Professor Bogden English 220...

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Dylan Douglas Professor Bogden English 220 Monday, April 12 th , 2009 TITLE PAGE Leslie Mormon Silko’s novel, “Ceremony,” is the Native American story about Tayo, a young man who struggles to make sense out of a white man’s modern world. His search for his own identify is his main concern, a quest that many of his generation find themselves facing. He encounters many challenges that his upbringing as a farmer does not prepare him for, especially his transition into school and the army. The setting of the story’s events takes place post-Tayo’s service in World War II, in a region of reservation lands that are full of veterans just like Tayo, who suffer from the same social ailments and mental disturbances. This changing generation of young Indians is the sociological outcome of a series of broken promises and dreams that they once relied on. The influence that fighting on the side of America, the country known for having stolen the Indian’s native land, is one that wreaks havoc on their culture for many reasons. The community in the city of Gallup, New Mexico, embodies the devastation and horrific changes made by the cultural disruption that the war had on the generation of young veterans and those in relation to them. It is the scene for the new, impoverished, neglected people whose social system is most apparently failing them. The tension between people’s expectancies and hopes as they embark on their lives, leaving their reservations and traveling to cities like Gallup, is enormous. When they are met with the grim reality of things, a vicious and destructive cycle permeates in their lives and they descend a downward spiral of misfortune. This greatly affects their society and as we see through the story of Tayo, pulling one’s self out of this and living contently comes along with unforeseeable challenges. Gallup as a setting creates a general assessment of the social ailments of its occupants, including the tension between the people passing through with the ones who grow up and live there. People who gravitate towards this city are either unhappy in, displaced by, or in search of help for their preexisting community. Their hope is to draw success, happiness, and stability from it; these notions are blatantly hopeless. The influx of people looking for work are hoping to earn large wages in white-collar positions, but
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become trapped along with other native “blacks, Mexicans, and Indians” trying to find work (Silko, 100). The main employers, “White storekeepers,” regard their employees as being invaluable and entirely expandable, allowing them to operate like oppressive tyrants. This is the kind of disloyalty that disrupts the social structure of people trying to make a living there. It also lures people into spending what money they do manage to earn on alcohol, a temporary form of relief that serves to furthering the people’s directionless states as they remain in Gallup.
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