Story from Bear Country

by Leslie Marmon Silko

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 161

"Story from Bear Country," first published in Silko's collection of poetry and prose Storyteller in 1981, retells a Native-American myth in a simple and direct tone. Silko, an award-winning poet and novelist, grew up in New Mexico where she was raised within three strong cultures—Laguna Indian, Mexican, and white European—which influenced her strong writing voice. Borrowing from traditional Laguna "abduction myths," stories of animals seducing humans and transforming them, the poet uses vivid images throughout to guide the reader through a wilderness where bears are waiting to call people into their world. Before people know it, having wandered too far into the woods, they become "locked forever" inside themselves "dark shaggy and thick," with the poet sending "bear priests" to look for them and help them make the journey back. Silko takes on the role of "storyteller" and "trail guide," speaking directly to the reader, mixing description with instruction as they make their way through this beautiful and enticing landscape.

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