Masterplots II: Nonfiction Series Storyteller Analysis
For Leslie Silko, the story is basic to existence, for the Lagunas have always had a tremendous concern for language. She says thatstorytelling for Indians is like a natural resource. Some places have oil, some have a lot of water or timber or gold, but around here, it’s the ear that has developed.
The story is not only about life, it is life, giving to as well as drawing meaning from it. In Storyteller, Silko uses different forms to tell her story, which is also her people’s story, so thematically she begins with the intimate childhood relationships, such as those with Aunt Susie and Grandma A’mooh, from whom she heard her first tales. Throughout the book she uses photographs to reaffirm the poetry in the early sections, for both show the loving context in which the mythic episodes were first told to her and which she would later pass on to others as a writer. Stories depicting the girl jumping into the lake, whereupon her “clothes turned into butterflies,” as well as the girl’s choice of death in “Cottonwood,” show the closeness of death and life, sadness and joy, love and hate as part of the ironic texture of the old stories.
These stories come from and belong to the community. In contrast to the white world, where individual success is so important (as in the myth of Horatio Alger), the Laguna Indian finds identity through the group. In “Geronimo,” a group of Laguna soldiers act as guides for the whites in...
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