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Ceremony

Leslie Marmon Silko

Section 8

Section 7

Section 8, page 2

page 1 of 2

Summary

The Mexican woman bore Descheeny a girl child, who she gave to Descheeny's daughters to raise. In time, the girl child bore a child of her own, Betonie, who was raised by his grandmother the Mexican woman.

Tayo feels that the ceremony has begun to cure him, but Betonie warns that in order for a true cure the ceremony will have to continue for a long time. When Tayo tries to pay Betonie, Betonie refuses the money and tells Tayo, "This has been going on for a long time now. It's up to you. Don't let them stop you. Don't let them finish off this world."

Tayo leaves Betonie's the next morning. He rides with a trucker a little way. When he gets out at a gas station to buy some food, Tayo sees white people clearly for the first time in his life. He decides to walk home, but after a few minutes Harley and Leroy drive by and stop to pick him up. They have been drinking and carry bottles of wine and beer along with a woman from another tribe, Helen Jean. At first, Tayo resists their offers of wine and leans out the window watching grasshoppers but after a while he joins in, trying to feel nothing. The go to the Y bar and continue drinking. Helen Jean begins flirting with a Mexican sitting at another table. When she leaves to join him, Tayo is the only one sober enough to notice.

Helen Jean is from Towac. She went to Gallup to find a job and make money to help out her family, but although she knows how to type, she is only offered a job cleaning a movie theater for seventy-five cents an hour and cannot even afford to pay rent for her room. Then her boss begins to expect sexual favors, and she quits. Desperately in search of someone who can loan her rent money, she goes to the bars in town she knows the Indians hang out at, and they invite her in to have a drink with them. She tries to continue looking for work but is drawn back to the bars where they guys are always happy to see her, to tell her their war stories and to help her out with a little money at the end of the night. At first she tries to hold out and not have sex with the men in return for the money, but she is not able to withstand their advances for long. She promises herself that this time with the Mexican will be different.

Tayo falls asleep at the bar and is woken when Leroy and Harley get into a fight. He puts them into the truck and drives them home. On the way, Harley throws up, and Leroy urinates. When he stops the car Tayo gags and vomits, trying to rid himself of all of his past. The scalp ceremony rids Tayo of the memories of the Japanese that have been haunting him, but not of everything to which he has been exposed. Like in an ancient story, just having touched and seen certain things can haunt you. Tayo decides to try to follow some of Betonie's advice and to figure out how to call himself back to his people.

A long poem tells of Ck'o'yo Kaup'a'ta the gambler who tricked everyone who came his way into losing his or her life. He even captured the rain clouds, which he could not kill, but which he could keep prisoner. After three years their father the sun went looking for them. He finds his grandmother Spider Woman who tells him how to outsmart the gambler, and the Sun wins back his children, the clouds.

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Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko -- Summer Reading

by samjoerg, September 05, 2013

summer reading assignment

Thanks.

by itrey3, September 19, 2013

Thanks to whoever took the time to write this. Could be redone though. Seems a little sloppy.

1 Comments

5 out of 6 people found this helpful

Louise Erdrich!?

by mhillebrand, December 07, 2013

She should be included in that unfortunately short list of major Native American authors. Big oversight, in my little opinion. Apart from that, I am very grateful for these notes - helping me study for Praxis II English!

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