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Research Paper | Arts and Humanities | India | Volume 12 Issue 8, August 2023
Double Consciousness of the Native Americans in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony
Abstract: Double consciousness, a term originally introduced by W.E.B. Du Bois in his 1897 essay The Strivings of the Negro People, and later more famously, in The Souls of Black Folk, is a complicated identity doubleness that Du Bois defined for African Americans. Although Du Bois defines his term as an African American complexity, it is believed that double consciousness is applicable to other minority groups in the United States, including American Indians. Leslie Marmon Silko, a prolific contemporary Native American novelist, poet, essayist and short story writer, explores double consciousness within her American Indian characters in her novel Ceremony. The coming of change and meshing of cultures has brought an impending threat of ruin to Native American traditions. The novel, set on an Indian reservation just after World War II, concerns the return home of Tayo, a young Native American, who has been a prisoner of the Japanese during the war as the horrors and captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. Having risked his life for an America that fundamentally disowns him, Tayo confronts difficult and painful questions about the society he has been fighting for. Tayo's quest for resolution leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions. This quest itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremony that defeats his double consciousness and despair. The paper attempts to focus on a hybrid style of literature producing bicultural awareness in Silko's writing.
Keywords: Conflict tradition, double consciousness, alienation, acculturation
Edition: Volume 12 Issue 8, August 2023,
Pages: 1744 - 1746