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Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Ceremony characterizes the emotional and spiritual growth of Tayo, a Native American World War II veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), through a cultural and introspective lens. Her ability to blur the lines of reality and tribal myth illustrates Silko’s skillful style, which aims to merge the cultural contradictions between traditional tribal and Western views. Because Silko’s writing combines the oppression and spirituality of current Native American culture, she manipulates the English language and leads readers to experience the power and strength of words. Moreover, by performing isolated Reed-Kellogg (R-K) and tree diagramming sentence analysis, the vitality of diction, detail, and phrase choice in creating Silko’s mindful literature is revealed and substantiated with linguistic evidence. The following sentence exemplifies Silko’s complex use of language to describe her character Tayo’s experience in a Native healer’s home:

But with this old man it did not end there; under the medicine bags and bundles of rawhide on the walls, he saw layers of old calendars, the sequences of years confused and lost as if occasionally the oldest calendars had fallen or been taken out from under the others and then had been replaced on the top of the most recent years.

Silko’s Ceremony seamlessly weaves the flora of Native American tribal culture to the foundational fauna of its art, which best illustrates the conscientious purpose of R-K and tree diagramming in linguistic studies when analyzing the effectiveness of language written with social and cultural purpose.


This is a metadata-only record.



  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event location
    • Robinson Ballroom A

  • Event date
    • 1 April 2015

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Macklin Cowart