Some possible topics for Assignment #5--Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko


1. Silko's essay, "Fences against Freedom"

and the fence imagery in the novel.

2. The atomic priesthood in "Priesthoods and Power"

and the "witchery" in the novel.

3. Parallels and between the main story of Tayo and one of the Laguna poem-stories in Ceremony

4. A comparison of the "knotted" story telling style of Maxine Hong Kingston--the outlaw knot maker (p. 163)--and the tangled web of Silko's "Thought woman, the spider."

5. Living with nature--the environmental ethics of Native American culture embodied by incidents of Indian life--in Ceremony

6. Shamanic power--its strengths and its limitations--in Ceremony and Woman Warrior or Woman Hollering Creek

7. Silko's portrayal of drinking and drunkenness in psychological and social terms.

8. The feeling and significance of rain and water throughout Ceremony

9. Figures of demons or evil people: Kaup'a ta' the Gambler, the Texan Floyd Lee, Emo

10. A defense or a critique of Silko's political message. [Possibly connections between her story and the World Trade Organization controversy now playing out in Seattle]


1. Alcohol and medicine and poison

2. An experience of living in nature

3. Discovering a pattern in which one fits

4. Finding oneself in a community

5. A quest to reclaim something stolen or lost

6. Healing from battle fatigue or post traumatic stress


1. A story-poem-picture

2. A picture of a landscape with spirits

3. A script or plan for a healing cermony

4. A hunt story

5. A fantasy of union with a god or goddess

6. An illustrated map of a special place