In The Man to Send Rainclouds, what is the relaionship of the two religions within the community?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The man to Send Rainclouds by Leslie Marmon Silko there is an complex and uneasy relationship between the traditional Pueblo Indian religion and the Catholic religion. On the one hand, the individuals in the opposing religions--for they are opposing in theology as well as in practice--respect each other. The Pueblo Indians even go so far as to see benefit in the rituals of the Catholic religion, though the Catholic priest, Father Paul, has more reservations. He is unhappy when Teofilo, who died under a cottonwood tree, is given a traditional Pueblo funeral from which Catholic Last Rites have been omitted. At the funeral, in a vivid demonstration of the tolerance with which the Pueblo Indians view the Catholic religion, while Teofilo is wrapped in his Pueblo red blanket with face painted so he will be recognized on the other side of living, it is eagerly suggested that Father Paul, who is among the attendees, should sprinkle Teofilo with Holy Water. Demonstrating the uneasy relationship between the two religions, Father Paul first declines and then suspiciously agrees and very tentatively moves forward to do the sprinkling. Further depicting that Pueblo Indians are more tolerant than the representative of Catholicism, Leon exclaims that now that Teofilo is sprinkled with Holy Water, they'll surely have huge summer rain clouds, which alludes to Pueblo beliefs that the dead return and bring rain clouds for the Pueblo crops. This is assuredly an idea in direct opposition to Catholicism and yet Leon's happy idea sprang from the addition of Catholic Holy Water to Teofilo's traditional Pueblo funeral.

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The Man to Send Rainclouds

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