NAS152 Short Analysis Paper

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What significance does the atomic bomb hold in “Ceremony” by Leslie Marmon Silko? The atomic bomb plays a key role in the story “Ceremony” by Leslie Marmon Silko. Silko develops several themes, two of which include seeing things as they really are while not being tricked by witchery, and seeing relationships for what they are. She uses these two themes to establish that the destruction of Native Americans that occurred through the destruction of their land and culture is not a direct result of racism, but rather “witchery”—people’s tendency to hate and oppress others. The atomic bomb represents the deception behind mistaking destruction for recreation, the exploitation of land, the failure of achieving peace through violent means, and an understanding of the relationship between humans and their land. As a result, we learn the importance of having ceremony to balance human nature with the natural world as Silko intended us to. Firstly, Silko uses the creation of the atomic bomb to critique the deception that both Native Americans faced. She accomplishes this by having Tayo’s grandmother narrate how she had confused an explosion with a sunrise: “I thought I was seeing the sun rise again, but it faded away…Later on there was something about it in the newspaper. Strongest thing on this earth. Biggest explosion that ever happened—that’s what the newspaper said.” (Silko 245) Her confusion represents how Native Americans were deceived by “gifts” from the Whites such as booze, an “education”, and praise from fighting in the war. While there were some who did not appreciate these offerings, there were many that openly accepted them, believing that they brought about a more prosperous life. In reality, booze caused many Native Americans to become alcoholics, the “education” given to the Native Americans failed to help Native Americans obtain stable jobs, while the praise

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