Leslie Marmon Silko
Tayo has survived his beginnings as an outcast of both white and Native American society, only to be sent off to fight a war that he can’t hope to survive intact. As his childhood, war memories and ceremonial present come to the fore, Tayo must make a journey to bring the rain back to the land.
This is one of the novels I was assigned for American Literature. It’s filled with figurative language (images & symbols) and a really heart rending story. The beginning is quite confusing and the time changes irritating, but eventually you get used to Silko’s style.
I found it to be a really rich spiritual journey, one that is so nicely articulated and accessible even for me, a white Australian! I felt quite moved after I had finished reading it, and immediately had to write down some of my impressions for my essay writing.
One of the main things I took away from this novel is that we must all be responsible for our own actions. That’s what Tayo must come to terms with (and does, with Harley’s death) in order to deal with Rocky’s death (which Tayo feels responsible for.
I only wish I felt the same sort of connection to the land and the family that Tayo does. I probably wouldn’t reread this novel, but it certainly gave me some things to think about once I had finished reading it. Even if you’re a bit nary of American Literature, if you need to choose something to read you should choose this one over Tender is the Night or Daisy Miller (both of which I also read for this unit).
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