What are some symbols in Ceremony?
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Every work of fiction contains a number of different symbols, however in this text, one of the major symbols that relates so closely to its theme of the lack of comprehension shown by the whites of Native American culture and identity is the Gallup Ceremonial. This is an annual event which acts as a powerful symbol of the ways in which whites basically use Native American culture for their own materialistic and selfish purposes. Consider the following quote:
The Gallup merchants raised prices in motels and restaurants all Ceremonial week, and made a lot of money off the tourists. They sold great amounts of liquor to Indians, and in those years when liquor was illegal for Indians, they made a lot more money because they bootlegged it.
The rather materialistic purpose for this event is clear and this Ceremonial becomes yet another way that Native Americans can be exploited by whites for their own selfish ends. The display of traditional dancing is something that exemplifies this. Each group is paid to dance, yet such a show of dancing from all the different tribes ignores the way in which the dances form part of a yearly ceremonial pattern and how each dance has a different function and purpose. The Gallup Ceremonial is a powerful symbol as it shows how whites can be fascinated by the artefacts of Native American culture whilst mistreating and ignoring the Native Americans themselves.
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