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An Analysis of Ceremony from Deep Ecology

Author: LiYuanBo
Tutor: NanFang
School: Hebei Normal
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: Silko Ceremony deep ecology harmony
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 26
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Leslie Marmon Silko is one of the most eminent Native American writers in American literary history, and she is also a productive female writer. She is one of the most important writers to emerge from the Native American literary renaissances of 1970s. Her first novel Ceremony was published in 1977, which received immediate critical and popular acclaim. Ceremony is praised for its vivid characterization and inventive plots. It presents us a more authentic life of modern Native American people. Ceremony naturally arouses a lot of critics both at home and abroad. This novel has been probed from various angles, including history, culture, eco-feminism, formalism, postcolonial perspective and psychological perspective. However, Silko’s ecological consciousness in this book is rarely discussed. Therefore, this thesis will apply Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess’s deep ecology to explore Silko’s ecological consciousness in Ceremony.Returning home to the poverty-stricken Laguna Pueblo reservation from World War II, via a Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Tayo, a veteran of mixed ancestry, suffers a lot from nightmares, paralysis of memory, and fragmentation of reality. The two contrary attitudes toward animals between whites and Indians confused him; the white’s greed for land makes him helpless; the desertion from his mother and the racial discrimination from the whites alienate him; cursing the nature makes him feel guilty. What Tayo has to confront with is disharmony everywhere. That is why he feels lost. However, the white doctors in the veterans’hospital could not cure Tayo’s psychological trauma. Tayo restores himself and finds his real identity through a series of ceremonies with the help of the three healers. Finally, the protagonist lives in harmony with animals, land, the tribe and nature. Therefore, Tayo’s recovery shows us Native Americans’ecological attitude towards nature: human being must return to nature and live in harmony with it. The balance and harmony can be achieved only through one’s awareness of the close connection among animals, land, people and the environment.This thesis is composed of five parts. The introduction section briefly introduces Leslie Marmon Silko and the target novel Ceremony, deep ecology and the purpose of this study. Chapter One briefly introduces the reasons for loss of harmony. Chapter Two analyzes Tayo’s loss due to mother’s desertion, racial discrimination and trauma from the war. Chapter Three discusses the recovery of Tayo’s trauma from disharmony to harmony by the help of a series of ceremonies. To conclude, this paper hopes to contribute something new to the study of Leslie Marmon Silko’s works and arouse people’s consciousness of protecting the environment.

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