Leslie Marmon Silko writes in a postmodernist style of fragmented, or fractured, time in Ceremony because this is the best way to show (1) Tayo's own personal fragmentation, (2) Tayo's fragmentation from the land and the past, (3) Tayo's guilty feelings and for spiritual perceptions of unfulfilled connectedness, and (4) Tayo's journey toward psychological recovery.
Tayo has a difficult childhood upbringing plus a sense of separation from his Native American past that, when added to the battle fatigue and postwar trauma from World War II, left him with a deep personal fragmentation emotionally and psychologically. Tayo's desire was to reestablish his lost connections with the natural landscape and his tribal traditions because he sees these are the basis for a harmonious life for himself and his people.
Tayo is tormented by guilty feelings over incidents occurring during the war related to such incidents as a Japaneses soldier whom he was ordered to shoot who Tayo perceived to be his Uncle Josiah, his cousin Rocky who died in the war, and a curse on the Japanese rain season that he believes caused a draught in his home land. Tayo's journey to psychological recovery must lead backward and forward and must traverse personal pain, war pain, spiritual pain, and ethnic pain.