Lullaby, by Leslie Marmon Silko, is a story about and old, Navajo woman that is reflecting on some of the saddest events in her life. Lullaby shows how the white people have damaged the Native American life style, culture and traditions. Loss and symbolism are two major themes in this story.
Loss in lullaby is a theme that shows the fall of a culture. Ayah, the main character, through the story laments the death of her son Jimmie. When the white doctors came and took away her children, she mourned that Jimmie was not there to defend his family. Ayah lost her family, and it seems that she also lost the connection with the nature.
For a parent it must be a horrible experience to see their children die, and for Ayah it was worst because “it wasn’t like Jimmie died. He just never came back”. She might still being waiting for her sun to return. Ayah hoped that her son would take charge of the family and continue the traditions, “She mourned Jimmie because he would have worked for his father then;” But he was dead now, he could no longer learn and teach the ways of his culture. Something similar happened to his brother and his sister Danny and Ella. After the white doctors took away the children, they brought them back to see her mother. But Ella just stared at her and Danny had forgotten to speak Navajo. When they left Ayah “knew they were already being weaned from these lava hills and from this sky” she knew she had lost them.
In lullaby Silko uses symbols to represent loss. For example “Weaned from these lava hills and from this sky”, in the only song Ayah knew, it says “The earth is your mother, she holds you. The sky is your father, he protects you.” And when the book says “she knew they were already being weaned from these lava hills and from this sky” she is saying that her children are being disconnected from their mother and his father. Another example is the cows and the grass. “The thin cows would graze on a grass already chewed flat to the ground…” “Winding paths...