Book Reviews 203 "crafted a novel wordweb designed to privilege Native Laguna story" (18). Indeed, Nelson takes the very interesting approach of arguing that Silko's use of Laguna and Navajo texts "amounts to an act of repatriation": she is "repatriating Laguna `artifacts,' working to rescue them from their deadening status as ethnographic museum pieces" (4, 20). After identifying, naming, and mapping thirty different "embedded" texts, Nelson devotes the bulk of his study to explicating these texts, setting them in their historical, literary, and ethnographic contexts, and suggesting how they function within the overall prose narrative of the novel. He argues that a "map like this is enormously useful in helping to locate and to visualize the pattern of departures and recoveries which Tayo undergoes in the prose narrative" (18). To take one example: Nelson identifies the hoop series of texts which can be seen to represent "the idea of cultural survival and continuance" (50). References to hoops and hoop rituals occur throughout the novel--within the prose narrative and in the embedded texts. As Nelson points out, early in the novel, for instance, Silko juxtaposes a reference to Gallup hoop dance ceremonials for tourists with the scattered rusty steel
Western American Literature – The Western Literature Association
Published: Aug 13, 2010
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