This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

"The Significance Of Myth In Ceremony"

1421 words - 6 pages

The Significance of Myth in CeremonyMany people in our culture misunderstand the function of myth. We typically assume that there are two kinds of narrative, completely distinct from one another: a journalistic compilation of facts, all literally true and verifiable, or stories spun by a fiction writer for the purpose of entertainment only. Myth, we assume, falls resoundingly into the latter group. While primitive and superstitious people may have once believed that the sun was pulled across the sky by a chariot, we in our infinite scientific wisdom know that is not the reason that the sun appears to move in the sky when viewed from earth. Therefore, the myth is written off purely as a work of fiction and fantasy.Indigenous peoples throughout the world, however, look at their myths and folktales in quite another way. They recognize in them an explanation, not for the way physical science works or history occurred, but for the way their culture feels about itself. Myths explain by analogy concepts that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to explain literally. They do so in a way that bypasses the conscious, analytical mind and heads straight for the heart (technically, the unconscious). The stories are thus both emotionally and psychologically satisfying, and can have a very therapeutic effect when an individual's spirit is sick. When he feels, in other words, out of sync with the group that gives him his ultimate identity.This is the situation in Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Ceremony. The protagonist, Tayo, has suffered what we would consider a nervous breakdown as a result of traumas suffered in the war. The trauma actually occurred because he was ordered to shoot enemy soldiers, who seemed to him to bear the faces of his ancestors. He is first sent to a Veteran's hospital where he is diagnosed as suffering from "battle fatigue" and released with no real remedy. He then returns home to his aunt's house, where his symptoms grow steadily worse. Tayo has been told that he really should separate himself from his Indian heritage as much as possible, that is what is making him sick, and that the worst thing for him is "Indian medicine" (Silko, 3).By "Indian medicine," the VA doctors do not mean herbs and weeds ground up into a poultice or steeped into tea, although that may be part of the treatment. What they mean is the treatment of Tayo's spiritual condition through his reassimilation into the culture and heritage of his people. The Indian culture is one of deep spirituality, and it is impossible for the Indian to conceive of one's having a mental disorder that was not a reflection of a spiritual disintegration. The fact that Tayo feels his connection to his spirit and to the spirit of his people fading is why he perceives himself as "white smoke". He feels that he is smoky because he is no longer solidly an Indian, and the smoke is white because Tayo has intellectually accepted too much of white culture that flies in the face of what he feels...

Find Another Essay On "The Significance of Myth in Ceremony"

Tea Ceremony – The Quintessence of Japan

2013 words - 8 pages , stillness, and peace in mind. According to the Urasenke foundation, which is one of the main schools of the Japanese tea ceremony, this tranquility is not the dreamy psychological state, but the dynamic force of one's innermost being that infuses the practice of tea and gives significance to the tea gathering. It is the natural result of mindful actions of the host, the guests, and the way the host decorates the tea space (The Philosophy). The

The Significance of the Blues in History

2204 words - 9 pages music. According to Douglas Henry Daniels in his “The significance of Blues for American History,” the blues are singular significance for understanding the American historical experience, which has the tragi-comic characteristics of music (Daniels 14). The blues are a truthful depiction of the spirit of the American experience. The blues will continue to inform future generations of how we as Americans have moved forward and how the blues

The Significance of the Players in Hamlet

935 words - 4 pages The Significance of the Players in Hamlet      Most characters in Hamlet present themselves as something other than themselves or how as we, the audience, or another character thinks they should appear.  Two of the main characters in this play, Hamlet and King Claudius, are constantly acting as something other than their true nature.    Ironically, the characters that invoke changes in Hamlet and King Claudius to reveal their real

The Significance of the Handkerchief in Othello

1079 words - 4 pages How can one small piece of fabric manifest so much havoc? In William Shakespeare’s Othello, there is great significance of a powerful symbol that completely alters the fate of the story. “In the case of the handkerchief, it stands for several things, things that cannot be seen” (Hacht 663). This symbol, the handkerchief, is given to Desdemona by Othello, as a token of his love, and to their new beginnings as husband and wife. However, the

Exploration of the Divergent Cultural Relationships with Land in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony

2684 words - 11 pages Exploration of the Divergent Cultural Relationships with Land in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony In her novel, Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko uncovers the innumerable contrasts of the white ranchers and the Native Americans. The natives feel helpless as the whites spill themselves upon the contiguous hillsides and valleys. The commanding whites steal the land which had never before belonged to any single entity. Unable to

The Significance of Self-Immolation in Buddhism

2807 words - 11 pages said that monastics see themselves in better footing on the path towards enlightenment, or the contrapositive can be said, that laypeople see themselves on worse footing on the path towards Buddhahood. An important example of self-immolation that truly separates the monastics from the lay-people is the now-outlawed ordination ceremony for Chinese nuns and monks. An important ritual in this ceremony was the receiving of three or more burns on the

The Significance of Language in Dramatic Productions

2043 words - 8 pages The Significance of Language in Dramatic Productions The significance of language in any dramatic production, or indeed any piece of performance art, be it song, poetry or whatever, is undoubtedly of great importance, as it is not only the medium through which

The Significance of Shadrack in Morrison’s Sula

1297 words - 5 pages The people of the Bottom in Medallion, Ohio “knew Shadrack was crazy but that did not mean that he didn't have any sense or, even more important, that he had no power” (Morrison 15). In Toni Morrison’s novel Sula, Shadrack is a brief, but largely considerable character. His significance stems from the fact that he personifies one of Morrison’s main themes in the novel, which is the need for order, as well as that he serves as human embodiment of

Significance of the Women in Sophocles' Antigone

2556 words - 10 pages Significance of the Women in Antigone                 Michael J. O’Brien in the Introduction to Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, maintains that there is “a good deal of evidence to support this view” that the fifth century playwright was the “educator of his people” and a “teacher” (4). Sophocles in his tragedy Antigone teaches about “morally desirable attitudes and behavior,” (4) and uses a woman as heroine and another

Significance of the Women in Oedipus Rex

2769 words - 11 pages Significance of the Women in Oedipus Rex            Michael J. O’Brien in the Introduction to Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, maintains that there is “a good deal of evidence to support this view” that the fifth century playwright was the “educator of his people” and a “teacher”. Sophocles in his tragedy, Oedipus Rex, teaches about “morally desirable attitudes and behavior,” (4) and uses three women to help convey these

The Significance of Nanotechnology in Modern Society

937 words - 4 pages Nanotechnology is a big buzz-word in the realms of science and technology at the moment, and the trend looks set to increase exponentially. All of a sudden, nanotech is everywhere, from computer chips to bicycle frames. But many laymen are unaware of what the term actually refers to. The Wikipedia definition of ‘Nanotechnology’ sums it up as follows: Nanotechnology is any technology which exploits phenomena and structures that can only occur

Similar Essays

The Value Of Narrative In Ceremony

819 words - 3 pages The Value of Narrative in Ceremony      The story is the most powerful and most compelling form of human expression in Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Ceremony. Stories reside within every part of every thing; they are essentially organic. Stories are embedded with the potential to express the sublime strength of humanity as well as the dark heart and hunger for self destruction. The process of creating and interpreting stories is an ancient

History Of Tea In Japan And The Japanese Tea Ceremony

3475 words - 14 pages interiors and gardens), together with the design of tea utensils. Currently, as initiated by Sen-no Rikyu, the tea ceremony still emphasizes on four key Japanese beliefs: respect, harmony, purity as well as tranquility (740). Deal (2005), explains these terms in regards to their function and significance in the aspect of the Japanese tea ritual (305): • Harmony (wa): a longing for reciprocity, both at the tea gathering and in the outside world

The Myth Of Rape Culture In America

3185 words - 13 pages “Rape is as American as apple pie,” says blogger Jessica Valenti. She and other feminists describe our society as a “rape culture” where violence against women is almost invisible. According to feminists, films, magazines, fashion, books, music, and humor cooperate in conveying the message that women are there to be used, abused and exploited.(Kitchens, 2015) Rape culture, which was coined as a culture during the second wave of feminism

Rejecting The Myth Of Colorblindness In Education

1723 words - 7 pages Colorblindness is a defect in the perception of colors, caused by a deficiency in specialized cells in the retina that are sensitive to different colors. The term is often used today during political discourse, often by members of some factions of liberalism, when claiming that one’s race should be irrelevant to any decision making process. It is a form of moral posturing; that one should see an individual as simply an individual, but not as