Deer-Hoof Clackers and Coke Bottles: The Construction of the Postcolonial Nation in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony. by Ariel

Book Review : Deer-Hoof Clackers and Coke Bottles: The Construction of the Postcolonial Nation in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony.

By Ariel

  • Publication Date: 2004-07-01
  • Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines

Book Review

I. In his critical survey of the American Indian novel, Louis Owens identifies the modernist impulses of some contemporary Native American novelists, who, by incorporating fragmented or mixed blood characters into their works, focus attention on the possibility of "recovering a centered sense of personal identity and significance" (19). By examining such texts as N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn and James Welch's Winter in the Blood, Owens highlights how both novels move from representing individual fragmentation and alienation to the discovery of "a coherent personal identity entirely dependent upon a coherent cultural identity" (20). It is hard to ignore the larger implications of Owens' reading: the attention given in these novels to individual recovery is meant to signal the possibility of a larger tribal recovery and a return to stability. This future hope, in many cases, relies on a perception of the past .as something to be uncovered; the displaced individual, as is the case of the unnamed protagonist in Welch's Winter in the Blood, must learn to recognize how tribal history and myth continue to inform and provide meaning in the present day. This construction of history in more unified terms--as that which needs to be discovered rather than interrogated--becomes a source of hope, in part, because it provides a sense of continuity for tribal members. (1)

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