In her insightful essay on the tradition of Pueblo Indian storytelling – “ Language and Literature from a Pueblo Indian Perspective ” – Leslie Silko displays the immense function that narratives play in the life of the cultural group she originates from, she reveals the importance of storytelling for her household, ascendants, neighbours, closest friends and personally herself. In malice of the rubric that draws our attending to the constructs of linguistic communication and literature, the chief and cardinal issue of her essay, which foremost appeared as a address for presenting before the audience, is narrative proper.
Story is non a thing to be told at certain minutes in certain fortunes, if we deal with the life style of Pueblo Indians. The whole life of those people is saturated with the battalion of narratives and “ stories-within-stories ” . A Pueblo Indian, from his/her really birth on, hears and listens to the narratives, so, turning up, begins narrating them him/herself, and in such a manner all his/her life is accompanied by this graphic tradition. Therefore, storytelling may be thought of as a texture of their life, for, on the one manus, the full universe and world are perceived in the visible radiation of narratives, and, on the other manus, all the corporate and single experience of the Pueblos is transformed into narratives and so orally passed on to the undermentioned coevalss. This usage is more than merely an equivalent of folklore in European or Asiatic traditions.
Leslie Silko emphasizes that “ a written address or statement is extremely fishy ” among her people as it does non let sharing the feelings suitably. Mere graphical symbols are non able to show all the abundance of human experience, but an unwritten word is. At first sight, it seems slightly uneven for a individual reared in European tradition, but if we look back at such ancient famous persons as Socrates who besides rejected the written word as lending to the impairment of our memory, it becomes non so foreign for us every bit good, although the undermentioned era established the importance and even the preferred credibleness of what is written or typed.
The same may be said about the Judaic tradition, its pre-Talmudic period when Torah she be-al-pe[ 1 ]was prohibited from being put down ; the same is about early Christian tradition when Gospels were simply told by one individual to another ; the Vedic period of the Hindus when their sacred texts were recited orally and were non fixed in written signifier. There could be found much more analogues to the phenomenon of Pueblo narrative stating in the history of other cultural groups and civilisation.
Leslie Silko goes on and says that, for the Pueblos, “ linguistic communication is narrative ” ( Silko 49 ) . It is most clearly illustrated by the fact that many words in the Pueblo Indian linguistic communication have their ain narratives. When a narrative is told, the Teller frequently goes into the narratives of words, and so a phenomenon of “ stories-within-stories ” emerges. The narrative becomes a web that is woven in all waies, which is contrary to the convention of additive measure by measure narrating in European tradition.
“ Language is narrative, narrative is linguistic communication ” – that dialectic integrity of Pueblo Weltanschauung determines the construction and content of their narratives and the essay devoted to them in peculiar.
The footing of any state ‘s, ethnicity ‘s outlook lies in their cosmogonic and theogonic myths, which constitute their corporate unconscious, the latter predetermines the manner of thought, life, and interacting of a certain state. The Pueblo Indians are non an exclusion here, and the writer introduces the “ Creation narrative ” for us to understand the distinctive features of Pueblo perceptual experience of the existence.
The narrative is important both for its analogues and disagreements with the Biblical creative activity narrative ; moreover, the latter are more legion and are deserving being mentioned foremost. The universe was created by Thought Woman – Tseitsinako – “ thought of her sisters and, together with her sisters ” , she “ thought of everything that is ” – and at that place appeared the universe. Thus, everything that is subjective in our universe is a portion of the whole ; every component, every component of the world belongs to this whole. The worlds are besides an inseparable component of the existence and belong to this cosmopolitan entity. Contrary to the Bible where the universe emerges as a consequence of God ‘s word, or Logos ( Genesis 1, 3 ; John 1, 1-3 ) , the existence appeared through the idea of the goddess and her sisters, the tight nexus of worlds to the nature are besides more evident in Pueblo Creation narrative. In the Bible, people are created and allow in the Garden of Eden straight by God, in the Pueblo tradition they come into the universe due to the difficult attempts of the animate beings – Antelope and Badger.
Such a universe mentality determines the monistic perceptual experience of the world, it influences both the linguistic communication and the storytelling of the Pueblo people. Narratives are the portion of their mundane life, they are multidimensional, web-like, organized in a complex construction that stretches far beyond chronological or formal logical model. There are many repeats, feature of the unwritten address, asides, stories-within-stories etc that make their narratives a multilayer texture. There are no separate narratives in Pueblo folklore – each narrative is a portion of some more general or cardinal narrative, and the latter in bend constitutes larger narratives, so that the whole Pueblo traditional and even modern mundane discourse is one large narrative with a immense figure of smaller and minute subdivisions.
“ The narratives are ever conveying us together, maintaining this whole together, maintaining this household together, maintaining this kin together ” tells us Leslie Silko. The finish of narrative is therefore to continue the integrity of the existence. The writer gives us three illustrations, three narratives that are still being told and re-told until presents.
The first one relates about a immature adult male who lost his new Volkswagen and “ felt really bad about it ” . The construction of the narrative may be defined as the treble 1: 1 ) the cat earns money, purchases the auto and drives it ; so 2 ) it falls into the ravine and is broken to pieces ; 3 ) there come his friends and relations seeking to offer him solace. What do they make in peculiar? They tell narratives about the people who besides lost their autos in the ravine, furthermore, many of them lost their kids and parents when their autos were traveling down into the arroyo. The 3rd portion of the narrative is an indispensable component of Pueblo storytelling. Those narratives join the cat ‘s life experience to those of the other people, and when put into that context, his loss is ( or seems ) non so great, he turns out to be comparatively lucky, because he shunned the danger of losing his ain and his relations lives.
The narratives of the friends and neighbours turn grief into solace, despair into hope, solitariness into good-humored support. Finally, that cat ‘s experience joins the common discourse of people whose autos fell into the arroyo, that cat accordingly joins those people, he is non entirely and that is the greatest solace possible in such fortunes.
The 2nd narrative about a miss who drowned herself in Kawaik Lake is more dramatic. There can be besides distinguished three parts: 1 ) miss ‘s petition to her female parent to cook her yashtoah, the conditions her female parent announces ; 2 ) miss ‘s determination to acquire drowned ; 3 ) transporting out her determination and her female parent ‘s return place.
The nucleus portion of the narrative seems to be the 2nd one, for it shows the transmutations in the miss ‘s determinations and purposes. There are besides “ stories-within-stories ” here, and certain periods and inside informations are extremely insistent, they are yashtoah, “ I ‘m traveling to Kawaik and leap into the lake at that place ” and similar phrases. The miss tells the old adult male about her wrangle with her female parent and her self-destructive determination, the adult male, in bend, goes to her female parent and tells her what her girl is about to make. These narratives are so intertwined and interlacing, so organically situated in the context, that it is debatable to take them out of at that place.
The narrative is more or less organized in a chronological order, the sequence of events is non interrupted but attending should be paid to the fact that this narrative was heard by the writer of the essay in a modernised version from her aunt. It is a graphic statement that traditions, and Pueblo storytelling in peculiar, possess a dichotomic nature – on the one manus, they pass the ancient experience of the ascendants on to modern coevals, on the other manus, they include the present experience of the people and add them to the common stock of Pueblo history. So, the old, present and future coevalss are non separated, they are connected by a strong nexus of storytelling, which preserves the past and provides infinite for the hereafter.
What is more, this narrative “ explains ” why the butterflies are so beautiful and multicolored. The narrative of a miss is tightly connected to the biological diverseness in the carnal universe.
The 3rd narrative happens in modern clip, but it is however organized harmonizing to the bing form of Pueblo storytelling tradition – legion repeats, associations, reminiscences, stories-within-story etc. The adult female goes into inside informations of the problems of her life – loss of hubby and female parent, adversities of employment etcA – but it ends with a gleam of hope, she meets with her aunt and gramps, the latter gives her a really beloved present – a silver 1907 dollar, which shocks every member of their household.
Subsequently, as she writes, “ I kept it for a long clip because I guess I wanted to hold it to retrieve when I left my place state ” .
The silver dollar presented by her hapless gramps became a stuff item of her warm memory of her household, childhood and fatherland.
Therefore, the storytelling does non look to be “ something that is done at bedtime ” in the life of Pueblo Indians, it is the kernel of their life.
Detaching oneself from the mentioned narratives, and holding a expression at the essay as the whole, it becomes apparent that the essay itself is a Pueblo narrative, although told to the non-Pueblo people.
It incorporates the analyzed narratives, it is originally unwritten, it is saturated with the monistic worldview and it has a just opportunity to be incorporated into a larger piece of storytelling and is already the component of the Pueblo Indian discourse.
The essay is besides curious for being addressed to the two universes – the traditional universe of the Pueblos and the modern globalized universe. This essay intends to originate and keep a duologue between these universes, to intensify the common apprehension that may ensue in common enriching of the two distinguishable civilizations.
The writer herself and the people she tells the narratives of are animating illustrations of the success on this manner of mutual apprehension. She and the characters of the narratives are integrated into modern American society, but they did non lose touch with their cultural and hereditary bequest either. Although this position is non in full agreement with Paul Lorenz who states that the values of American Indian civilizations “ have been forced to face the foreigner values of European American civilization ” ( Lorenz 59 ) .
One more of import facet of the storytelling should be paid due attending to every bit good – the integrity of Teller and hearer. Leslie Silko emphasizes the importance of the latter – “ a great trade of the narrative is believed to be inside the hearer ; the narrator ‘s function is to pull the narrative out of the hearers ” ( Silko 51 ) . Ib Johansen, nevertheless, positions this issue from a spot another position – “ In traditional societies narrator plays an of import function ; he/she is placed at the really centre of the community, and his/her activities are considered as indispensable to the really self-awareness or sense of individuality of the community ” ( Johansen ) – it is the Teller whom Ib Johansen topographic points as the cardinal figure in storytelling. Here we see a authoritative illustration of the European attack.
As it occurs to me, there is non the impression of cardinal or cardinal function / importance in Pueblo Indian universe mentality. Important are all the dwellers and objects of the universe despite their function, size, finish ; all of them are of equal relevancy, all are necessary, all indispensable, all Godhead.
The monistic and pantheistic attack to life, people, phenomena and objects determines the reverent attitude towards them, on the one manus, and creates troubles in set uping the hierarchy of values, on the other manus. It is so debatable to specify what transition is most of import in a certain narrative, or what dealingss are more preferred – either personal, or tribal, or kin 1s.
Paul Lorenz recognizes that the fiction of Leslie Silko “ is the merchandise of American Indian, instead than Western, cultural values ” ( Lorenz 59 ) . Indeed, the really manner of her essay portions many common characteristics with the traditional Pueblo Indian narratives. It is apparent in her mention to ethnologists and anthropologists who tend to distinguish “ the types of narratives the Pueblo Tell ” – she says that the people of her cultural group ne’er divide the narratives into categories, “ household narratives are given equal acknowledgment ” ( SilkoA 51 ) .
A typical feature of the storytelling among this tribal group of Indians is that they attach more importance to what is said than how something is said, the content is more of import than the signifier harmonizing to Pueblo Weltanschauung. “ The peculiar linguistic communication spoken is n’t every bit of import as what a talker is seeking to state ” , writes the writer of the essay. That distinctive feature is besides marked by Ib Jansen when he retells instance of an Eskimo adult female accused of killing a storeman.
Therefore, the impressions of myth, fable, parable, tale and the similar are non rather applicable to the tradition of Pueblo storytelling, they are hard or, even impossible, to distinguish in the context of their civilization. The Creation narrative, Home Country narrative, the narrative of the immature adult male ‘s Volkswagen and the address of Ms Silko are of equal relevancy and credibleness in the eyes of Native American. They do non abandon negative narratives of their ain households and kins ; they are ever seeking to convey the content, kernel of the narrative so that the expressive means retreat to the background. The cosmogonic and sacred myths are every bit plausible as their ain experience in the context of Pueblo Indian Culture.
Summarizing up, it is sensible to indicate out that “ Language and Literature from a Pueblo Indian Perspective ” and the other plants mentioned in this paper focal point on the indispensable features of Pueblo people ‘s storytelling tradition, they emphasize its monistic worldview, exemplify how several narratives may unify into one ; their linguistic communication and the whole life are tightly linked to the narratives and can non be imagined without each other. Pueblo Indian storytelling tradition can non but be recognized as a truly valuable component of the American and universe civilization.