What is the significance in the story, "Storyteller," by Leslie Silko? What is the connection to the Native Am. Renassiance?I'm trying to understand more about Native American Literature and why...

What is the significance in the story, "Storyteller," by Leslie Silko? What is the connection to the Native Am. Renassiance?

I'm trying to understand more about Native American Literature and why it is so important to our literature today.  I'm trying to find out more about American Ethnic literature, and what that means.  Can someone help me out, I need some direction.

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Leslie Marmon Silko is a well-known and respected name in Native American literature. She has written poems, short stories and novels. Her first and most famous novel was entitled Ceremony. She is considered part of the literary movement known as the Native American Renaissance, which simply refers to an increase in literary works produced by Native Americans after the groundbreaking novel by Pulitzer Prize winner and Native American N. Scott Momaday in 1968 entitled House Made of Dawn. Silko’s writing focuses on the evil effects colonialism and capitalism have had on indigenous peoples. In Storyteller, a Native American girl is punished for refusing to learn English and forsake her culture, for example. To Native Americans, stories are an important part of life. It is how they hand down their history. In Silko’s works, stories are even more important than people. She is more concerned with the peoples’ stories than the people themselves. To Silko and Native Americans, time is circular, not linear, so her stories and novels are sometimes hard to follow and her characters are often not very developed. Her history is revisionist because she tells her stories from the point of view of Native Americans and the events do not always follow what truly happened. There is a lot of blending of reality, dreams, legends, etc. in her work. Nevertheless, her themes are profound and her writing is exquisite.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a generation of Native Americans who had learned English and who had received educations outside of the very substandard reservation schools were emerging on the literary scene. This is what led to the so-called “Renaissance” of literary works. Also, Native American studies were starting to be offered as courses and even degree programs in many colleges and universities.

Other important Native American authors are N. Scott Momaday, James Welck, Nila NorthSun, Joy Harjo, Paula Gunn Allen and many others.

Towards the end of the 20th century and into the 21st, there has been a great deal of what is called diasporic writing in the United States. These are authors who come to the U.S. from other countries and write fiction about what it is like to live apart from their native lands. You probably have heard of some of these works: Kite Runner, Slumdog Millionaire, Beka Lamb, The Lazarus Project, Shadow Lines, Dogeaters, etc. You can check out some of these titles on eNotes to get further information about these works and these writers.

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