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Ceremony (1977)

af Leslie Marmon Silko

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
3,518593,572 (3.83)127
This story, set on an Indian reservation just after World War II, concerns the return home of a war-weary Laguna Pueblo young man. Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution. Tayo's quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs about witchcraft and evil, and to the ancient stories of his people. The search itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremny that defeats the most virulent of afflictions-despair. "Demanding but confident and beautifully written" (Boston Globe), this is the story of a young Native American returning to his reservation after surviving the horrors of captivity as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II. Drawn to his Indian past and its traditions, his search for comfort and resolution becomes a ritual--a curative ceremony that defeats his despair.… (mere)
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» Se også 127 omtaler

Engelsk (58)  Litauisk (1)  Alle sprog (59)
Viser 1-5 af 59 (næste | vis alle)
This book had long been on my list of "books I need to read someday," and when I found this lovely used copy of the 30th anniversary edition at my local bookstore, it got upgraded to books I need to read soon. But what did I know about it, going into it? Hardly anything. Just that it is a modern classic, and written by a Native American woman.

How do I explain why I loved this so deeply? Even when it was sometimes confusing often painful, a slow and tangled read. But the challenge is the point. There are no straight roads back to wholeness, not when things are as broken as they are.

I found this spell-binding. I am thankful to have crossed paths with this book. ( )
  greeniezona | Feb 9, 2024 |
Main character is Native American, was released after imprisonment after WWII and returns home
  JimandMary69 | Aug 30, 2023 |
Her writing is lyrical, suspenseful, and matter of fact, by turns. I first came across her short story "Lullaby" in college lit class, and was floored by it.

Yes, her approach moves seamlessly between time periods and various events so the reader must remain alert. But what of it? This reads like a dream, only the harshness is the lives of Native Americans who populate this novel. Just read it. ( )
  terriks | Jun 13, 2023 |
Good, if confusing, novel of a war veteran native american from Laguna pueblo in NM. Non linear storyline about Tayo, who manages to restore himself, after all he had experienced. Very poetic at times. Worthwhile. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
like my last reading, i'm not sure i have much to say here, even though there is so much to think about. so much of it is over my head, and i know that. but what i do understand, is beautifully wrought. she does something really special here, even though i can't speak to all of it, or maybe even most of it.

but this idea that you're sick if you don't accept the white devastation, that you're sick if you try to reconnect with your past and your history and your culture and with what made your community what it has become - it's powerful. tayo is so sick, physically and otherwise, but he's the one in this book that is doing his best to understand how to live in the present while not completely losing the past and his heritage. he's the one that wants to honor the old ways while making a new way - the ceremony of the title, which must adhere to old traditions but also morph and change with time or it no longer has any meaning. he is the ceremony, he is the salvation of the community. but he is seen as sick, as insane, as disposable. and until he truly reconnects with his culture, he really is sick, because he doesn't fit in the world around him.

i wish i understood more of this because it is so full of ache and beauty and i know, i just know, that it is even so much better than i see it. and i already see it as something amazing.

"Here they were, trying to bring back that old feeling, that feeling they belonged to America the way they felt during the war. They blamed themselves for losing the new feeling; they never talked about it, but they blamed themselves just like they blamed themselves for losing the land the white people took. They never thought to blame white people for any of it; they wanted white people for their friends. They never saw that it was the white people who gave them that feeling and it was white people who took it away again when the war was over."

"He wanted to yell at the medicine man, to yell the things the white doctors had yelled at him -- that he had to think only of himself, and not about the others, that he would never get well as long as he used words like 'we' and 'us.' But he had known the answer all along, even while the white doctors were telling him he could get well and he was trying to believe them: medicine didn't work that way, because the world didn't work that way. His sickness was only part of something larger, and his cure would be found only in something great and inclusive of everything."

"'The people nowadays have an idea about the ceremonies. They think the ceremonies must be performed exactly as they have always been done, maybe because one slip-up or mistake and the whole ceremony has to be stopped and the sand painting destroyed. That much is true. They think that if a signer tampers with any part of the ritual, great harm can be done, great power unleashed....That much can be true also. But long ago when the people were given these ceremonies, the changing began, if only in the aging of the yellow gourd rattle or the shrinking of the skin around the eagle's claw, if only in the different voices from generation to generation, singing the chants. You see, in many ways, the ceremonies have always been changing....At one time, the ceremonies as they had been performed were enough for the way the world was then. But after the white people came, elements in this world began to shift; and it became necessary to create new ceremonies. I have made changes in the rituals. The people mistrust this greatly, but only this growth keeps the ceremonies strong.

She taught me this above all else: things which don't shift and grow are dead things. They are things the witchery people want. Witchery works to scare people, to make them fear growth. But it has always been necessary, and more than ever now, it is. Otherwise, we won't make it. We won't survive. That's what the witchery is counting on: that we will cling to the ceremonies the way they were, and then their power will triumph, and the people will be no more.'"

"'Look,' Betonie said, pointing east to Mount Taylor towering dark blue with the last twilight. 'They only fool themselves when they think it is theirs. The deeds and papers don't mean anything. It is the people who belong to the mountains.'"

"Then they grow away from the earth/then they grow away from the sun/then they grow away from the plants and animals./They see no life/When they look/they see only objects./The world is a dead thing for them/the trees and rivers are not alive/the mountains and stones are not alive./The deer and bear are objects/they see no life./They fear/They fear the world./They destroy what they fear./They fear themselves."

"He knew then he had learned the lie by heart -- the lie which they had wanted him to learn: only brown-skinned people were thieves; white people didn't steal, because they always had the money to buy whatever they wanted.

The lie. He cut into the wire as if cutting away at the lie inside himself. The liars had fooled everyone, white people and Indians alike; as long as people believed the lies, they would never be able to see what had been done to them or what they were doing to each other....If the white people never looked beyond the lie, to see that theirs was a nation built on stolen land, then they would never be able to understand how they had been used by the witchery; they would never know that they were still being manipulated by those who knew how to stir the ingredients together: white thievery and injustice boiling up the anger and hatred that would finally destroy the world: the starving against the fat, the colored against the white. The destroyers had only to set it in motion, and sit back to count the casualties. But it was more than a body count; the lies devoured white hearts, and for more than two hundred years white people had worked to fill their emptiness; they tried to glut the hollowness with patriotic wars and with great technology and the wealth it brought. And always they had been fooling themselves, and they knew it."

"He wanted to scream at Indians like Harley and Helen Jean and Emo that the white things they admired and desired so much -- the bright city lights and loud music, the soft sweet food and the cars -- all these things had been stolen, torn out of Indian land: raw living materials for the ck'o'yo manipulation.The people had been taught to despise themselves because they were left with barren land and dry rivers. But they were wrong. It was the white people who had nothing; it was the white people who were suffering as thieves do, never able to forget that their pride was wrapped in something stolen, something that had never been, and could never be, theirs. The destroyers had tricked the white people as completely as they had fooled the Indians, and now only a few people understood how the filthy deception worked; only a few people knew that the lie was destroying the white people faster than it was destroying Indian people. But the effects were hidden, evident only in the sterility of their art, which continued to feed off the vitality of other cultures, and in the dissolution of their consciousness into dead objects: the plastic and neon, the concrete and steel. Hollow and lifeless as a witchery clay figure. And what little still remained to white people was shriveled like a seed hoarded too long, shrunken past its time, and split open now, to expose a fragile, pale leaf stem, perfectly formed and dead."

"He cried the relief he felt at finally seeing the pattern, the way all the stories fit together -- the old stories, the war stories, their stories -- to become the story that was still being told. He was not crazy; he had never been crazy. He had only seen and heard the world as it always was: no boundaries, only transitions through all distances and time."

4.5 stars

from feb 2009:

"Here they were, trying to bring back that old feeling, that feeling they belonged to America the way they felt during the war. They blamed themselves for losing the new feeling; they never talked about it, but they blamed themselves just like they blamed themselves for losing the land the white people took. They never thought to blame white people for any of it; they wanted white people for their friends. They never saw that it was the white people who gave them that feeling and it was white people who took it away again."

"Then they grow away from the earth/then they grow away from the sun/then they grow away from the plants and animals./They see no life/When they look/they see only objects./The world is a dead thing for them/the trees and rivers are not alive/the mountains and stones are not alive./The deer and bear are objects/they see no life."

"Every day they had to look at the land, from horizon to horizon, and every day the loss was with them; it was the dead unburied, and the mourning of the lost going on forever. So they tried to sink the loss in booze, and silence their grief with war stories about their courage, defending the land they had already lost."

"He wanted to scream at Indians like Harley and Helen Jean and Emo that the white things they admired and desired so much - the bright city lights and loud music, the soft sweet food and the cars - all these things had been stolen, torn out of Indian land: raw living materials for their ck'o'yo manipulation. The people had been taught to despise themselves because they were left with barren land and dry rivers. But they were wrong. It was the white people who had nothing; it was the white people who were suffering as thieves do, never able to forget that their pride was wrapped in something stolen, something that had never been, and could never be, theirs." ( )
1 stem overlycriticalelisa | Aug 5, 2022 |
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Leslie Marmon Silkoprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Buffalo, BennyOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Henderson, AdamNarratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Jacoby, MelissaOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
McMurtry, LarryIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Mendelsund, PeterOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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This book is dedicated to my grandmothers, Jessie Goddard Leslie and Lillie Stagner Marmon, and to my sons, Robert William Chapman and Cazimir Silko

Thanks to the Rosewater Foundation-on-Ketchikan Creek, Alaska, for the artist's residence they generously provided. Thanks also to the National Endowment for the Arts and the 1974 Writing Fellowship.

John and Mei-Mei: My love and my thanks to you for keeping me going all the time.
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This story, set on an Indian reservation just after World War II, concerns the return home of a war-weary Laguna Pueblo young man. Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution. Tayo's quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs about witchcraft and evil, and to the ancient stories of his people. The search itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremny that defeats the most virulent of afflictions-despair. "Demanding but confident and beautifully written" (Boston Globe), this is the story of a young Native American returning to his reservation after surviving the horrors of captivity as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II. Drawn to his Indian past and its traditions, his search for comfort and resolution becomes a ritual--a curative ceremony that defeats his despair.

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