CEREMONY BOOK REVIEW

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242 Western American Literature humor somewheres.

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You walk about sore all the moment. That’s no method to live, boy, no way a-tall.” No, Junior is no paragon — a fortunate circumstance given that his weak­ nesses help make him a thoabout believable character. Like many civilization, he is a guy divided within himself, torn by inner problems. Also choose many world, he is just partially successful in his attempts to deal with those disputes. Masks, like Junior, is not perfect; it has actually its share of minor flaws. Overall, but, it is effective and moving fiction. The book’s triumph, in particu­ lar, is that it provides neighborhood and regional materials to construct a theme of timemuch less and also universal definition. Masks, together with the previously pub­ limelted Okies, announces a distinctive new voice in Western fiction. Gerald Haslam is a writer of good talent and energy, and also he is destined, I believe, to create a body of creating that will be recognized as a major achievement in our region’s literary works. Masks and also Okies are a solid foundation on which to construct. TOM PILKINGTON, Tarleton State College Ceremony. By Leslie Marmon Silko. (New York: The Viking Press, 1977. 262 pperiods, $10.00.) At the heart of the world, a witchery is at work-related intent upon destroying mantype and the earth. So say ancient Laguna stories. The primary tools of this witchery are transplanted Europeans who seek to dom­ inate the large Amerideserve to landscape by a technology which turns beneficent and also beautiful minerals like uranium into horrific weapons of holocaust. While white world are witchery’s unwitting devices, Indians are its equally unwitting victims.

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Though natives have actually been conquered, deprived of the land also wfor this reason flows their material and spiritual being, and forced to witness everyday the white man’s rapacious devastation of nature, they blame them­ selves for their misery, thereby accepting the myth of white superiority. Their presumed inferiority explains to them their lack of success in the white human being, and also they believe poverty outcomes from the inadequacies of a primitive heritage quite than from the theft of their when abundant herbal resources. The the majority of deceived of all are the shell-shocked Indian veterans of WW II, that combated bravely for a land also they had already lost. Returning through nightmares from killing Japanese soldiers, that stem from the very same racial family tree, they uncover white Americans have actually currently dismissed their heroism. But they still fondly dream of that brief interlude in unidevelop as soon as they were wined and womaned by the omnipotent whites. They wish they were white. They hate their dark skins and also superstition-ridden society. In a prolonged fit of ethnic suicide, these shattered veterans ricochet from reservation to white bars, drinking, puking, fighting, whoring, and acquiring Reviews 243 the shit kicked out of them by white cowboys, Mexicans, and even other Indian vets. This is what the world’s witchery wants. Such is the depressingly alienative scene Leslie Silko paints as the backdrop to her initially novel, Ceremony. Its template, prefer its distinguiburned precursors, The Man Who Killed the Deer, House Made of Dawn, and Winter in the Blood, is restoration of the Indian psyche dissituated from aboriginal culture and also land also by the malignant despotism of Euro-Amerihave the right to rationalism. The protagonist, a reverted Laguna pueblo veteran, Tayo, suffers a prouncovered guilt because he could not proccasion the fatality of his cousin (and also adoptive brother) Rocky. Nor might he store himself from seeing the challenge of his beloved uncle Josiah in the visage of a recorded Japanese soldier executed in My Lai fashion. White medication is ineffectual in dealing with his battle hysteria, for it does not acknowledge the witchery at the source of modern horrors. Only once Tayo sceptically submits to the ministrations of a largely discredited Navajo medication man, Betonie, does he learn the true nature of the evil collection abroad upon the human being. Through a synthesis of Betonie’s innovative medication and also the prehistoric wisdom embodied in Laguna mythology, Tayo discovers a ceremony capable of transitioning him back to the sane, holistic civilization of aboriginal vision. Ceremony is outstanding in its interweaving of individual and also cosmic fate, a drama framed by the polarities of standard Laguna and con­ short-term Western...


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