The unifying theme of the short stories and poems of Storyteller might be considered Silko’s life itself. Punctuated with photographs of the Laguna reservation and surrounding landscape, often taken by her father, Storyteller seeks to assert the importance and vitality of an oral culture. Many of the tales included were told to Silko by her relatives; although not always understanding their import at the time, Silko came to realize that such stories include practical or moral instruction. Other tales and poems are imaginative reconstructions of ancient myths or are Silko’s responses to her immediate environment. Throughout, the connective thread is Silko’s experience of life as an American Indian woman.
Silko assumes many guises as a storyteller and becomes many narrators, each with an individual voice. With equal versatility, she is the Inuk girl who tricks her parents’ killer to his death, the mythic Yellow Woman riding into the mountains with her lover, or herself as a child, tormenting her uncle’s goat. As she demonstrates so forcefully in Ceremony, she capably creates male characters, catching the rougher resonances of their voices as well. Two striking stories narrated by male characters are “Tony’s Story” and “Coyote Holds a Full House in His Hand.”
In the first, Silko focuses on the killing of a New Mexico state patrol officer, seen from the point of view of one of the participants....
(The entire section is 531 words.)