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The Only Cure Is a Dance: The Role of Night Swan in Silko’s Ceremony

The Only Cure Is a Dance: The Role of Night Swan in Silko’s Ceremony The Only Cure Is a Dance The Role of Night Swan in Silko's Ceremony When we are first introduced to the character of Night Swan in Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Ceremony, Auntie refers to her as a "whore" and a "dirty Mexican woman" who convinces Josiah to buy a bunch of "worthless cattle" (76). However, in the next twenty pages of the narrative, we find that she is not simply a scheming seductress but is an intensely spiritual and powerful woman who challenges fixed categories of culture, spirituality, and gender. Associated with the rain, the color blue, Mount Taylor, the spotted cows, and Tayo's ceremony, Silko's "old cantina dancer with eyes like a cat" (87) has sparked a rich and provocative discussion among scholars that has continued for almost thirty years--a discussion that has typically attempted to (a) articulate who Night Swan is (divine being or powerful female) and (b) determine what she represents in the larger symbolic story of the novel.1 In her seminal text The Sacred Hoop (1986), Paula Gunn Allen asserts that Night Swan's integral role in Tayo's ceremony and her connection with the color blue align her with the figure of Ts'eh who is http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature The Western Literature Association

The Only Cure Is a Dance: The Role of Night Swan in Silko’s Ceremony

Western American Literature , Volume 50 (3) – Oct 10, 2015

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Publisher
The Western Literature Association
Copyright
Copyright © The Western Literature Association
ISSN
1948-7142
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Abstract

The Only Cure Is a Dance The Role of Night Swan in Silko's Ceremony When we are first introduced to the character of Night Swan in Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Ceremony, Auntie refers to her as a "whore" and a "dirty Mexican woman" who convinces Josiah to buy a bunch of "worthless cattle" (76). However, in the next twenty pages of the narrative, we find that she is not simply a scheming seductress but is an intensely spiritual and powerful woman who challenges fixed categories of culture, spirituality, and gender. Associated with the rain, the color blue, Mount Taylor, the spotted cows, and Tayo's ceremony, Silko's "old cantina dancer with eyes like a cat" (87) has sparked a rich and provocative discussion among scholars that has continued for almost thirty years--a discussion that has typically attempted to (a) articulate who Night Swan is (divine being or powerful female) and (b) determine what she represents in the larger symbolic story of the novel.1 In her seminal text The Sacred Hoop (1986), Paula Gunn Allen asserts that Night Swan's integral role in Tayo's ceremony and her connection with the color blue align her with the figure of Ts'eh who is

Journal

Western American LiteratureThe Western Literature Association

Published: Oct 10, 2015

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