Blog #39: Ceremony- The Land and the Stolen

They see no life / When they look / they see only objects. / The world is a dead thing for them [ . . . ]” (Silko 125)

“He wanted to scream at Indians like Harley and Helen Jean and Emo that the white things they admired and desired so much – the bright city lights and loud music, the soft sweet food and the cars – all these things had been stolen, torn out of Indian land: raw living materials for their ck’o’yo manipulation. The people had been taught to despise themselves because they were left with barren land and dry rivers. But they were wrong. it was the white people who had nothing; it was the white people who were suffering as thieves do, never able to forget that their pride was wrapped in something stolen, something that had never been, and could never be, theirs” (Silko 189).

Even though I already have one post about the connection that the Native Americans have with the land, I feel that the novel really emphasizes this point and I couldn’t help but to blog more about it. These two quotes expand on the concept of how connected the Native Americans are with the land. The first quote is taken from the story being told within Ceremony. It is describing the white people and how the “world is a dead thing for them.” This is in stark contrast to Native Americans, for whom the world is alive and meaningful. The whites “see no life” in the world, but the Native Americans see that the world is full of life and that this life is intertwined with theirs. The story that is being told within ceremony shows how connected the people are with the weather, the land, and the animals. The whites look at the world and “see only objects.” The use of the word “objects” is deeply significant. In one way it is saying how the whites see only themselves as representing life and everything else is only an object. On another level, it shows how the whites objectify everything, including the land. Their interests are monetary and materialistic. The second quote describes the anger that Tayo feels when he thinks about how some Native Americans envy the whites for their material goods. Tayo describes how the music, the food, and the cars were stolen from their land. “Raw living materials” were taken from Native Americans and used by the whites. The white people are the actual “thieves” and their pride is “wrapped in something stolen.” The white people are the ones that truly “ha[ve] nothing.” All of the things that the whites have, including their material goods and their pride, “could never be theirs.” Even if they took the land and used it for their own purposes, it would never be theirs and never mean to them what it meant to the Natives.

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