“Ceremony” by Leslie Marmon Silko

1)- Silko’s representation of women: choose either Night Swan or Ts’eh or Betonie’s Mexican
grandmother (but only if you didn’t already focus on her in a Post). Explain what symbolic role
she plays in the novel’s quests (note the plural quests), and what cultural functions or attributes
the text assigns to women/femininity. Be sure you don’t treat this character only as a “real
person” but also as a carrier of ideas and concepts. The paper isn’t just “about” this character,
nor is it just about Tayo. This topic is about the representation of gender and ideology. Do more
than just trace “color imagery” (no papers on “blue”) or just discuss her appearance, or just
talk about what she “does for Tayo.” (And stay offline—there have been problems with this)

2)- Hybridity: many scholars are fascinated by the way Ceremony represents the mixing of
things that, historically, some people have tried to keep separate—not only race/ethnicity, but old
and new, western culture and Native American ways, humans and the natural world, and more.
Choose one object, place, or recurring theme/image that you think exemplifies the novel’s
general attitude towards hybridity, and construct an argument around it. It seems clear that Silko
values, likes, reveres, etc. hybridity, so make your thesis more specific than that. Be sure to
choose something that we did not discuss in a Forum or our class discussion (i.e. don’t just
expand your Post on Old Betonie, and don’t focus on the Cattle or eye color [too obvious]).*

3)- Cultural Geography: The mountain with two names, Josiah’s spring, Caves, Ts’eh’s home,
Cubero, the Highways, the uranium mine, Pa’to’ch: These are all places that the novel loads with
symbolic importance and often multiple associations. Choose one place and explain why
analyzing it is necessary to understanding the novel (and “understanding” here does not mean
just following the plot, so don’t just describe events that happen here). How does your analysis
help us see how the place functions in the novel, as a symbol, as a battlefield of ideologies, as a
site where various themes can come together and create a new synthesis of ideas, etc.

 

 

Sample Solution

ACED ESSAYS