CEREMONY, STORYTELLING, LAND, THE REDISCOVERY OF IDENTITY IN LESLIE MARMON SILKO’S CEREMONY AND STORYTELLER AND N. SCOTT MOMADAY’S THE ANCIENT CHILD, HOUSE MADE OF DAWN, AND THE WAY TO RAINY MOUNTAIN
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This analysis will examine the connection between understanding identity and the intertwining elements of ceremony, storytelling, and land in selected works of Native American authors Leslie Marmon Silko and N. Scott Momaday. In their works, the protagonists seek their native identity from which they have become spiritually disconnected. This thesis guides the reader along their quests for identity using the framework of a spider’s web, an image that symbolizes unity and wholeness in native works. The web’s outer ring, healing ceremony, intertwines with the inner strands of storytelling. All unite at the center – the land. In keeping with Native storytelling, this analysis will, as Silko and Momaday do in their storytelling, begin at the outer edges and move inward to the center. The unity of these elements comprises the understanding of identity, which will be analyzed in the following works: Silko's 1988 novel Ceremony and her 1989 autobiographical narrative Storyteller, Momaday's 1968 novel House Made of Dawn, his 1969 autobiographical narrative The Way to Rainy Mountain, and his 1989 novel The Ancient Child.