Summary of "Ceremony"
Ceremony is the story about Tayo, A Native American World War II Veteran,
and his struggle to find himself. He struggles to adapt to a world where his
people have to fight between the what "whites" say is the true path, and what
his culture says the right path. Ceremony displays Tayo's struggle by comparing
his struggle to find his own path, to the other Native American's and their
fight to their own path.
The book starts as Tayo is in bed going over the war in his mind… He
remembers how the Japanese looked like him, same skin color and how Rocky told
him, "It's is what we're here to do" and how he doesn't understand why he's
there killing people that look like him, and possibly feel the same way he does.
But he is there because the "white" recruiter told him that he could fly planes,
and make America proud. He remembers the clash of his path between what the
white man wanted and his path. Tayo became so entranced with the idea that the
Japanese were like him that he started to put people he knew at home's faces on
the Japanese soldiers. Tayo could not see the reason for killing the Japanese,
and then when the soldier killed Rocky, it made his path split like a silk
string to a spider's web, it went out in all directions. His mind snapped at
that exact moment and went into "shell-shock".
Tayo started very early trying to find his path, but yet his path
paralleled Rocky's until the time when Rocky died. Tayo's path paralleled but
was always a step behind, because he was trying to retain his heritage and still
keep with the new ways. Tayo walked a thin line trying to keep his path and
Rocky's close together because he loved Rocky, and yet could not understand
Rocky wanting so badly to leave the old ways. Rocky believed in the white man's
science, when all Tayo wanted to believe in was Native American science, for
example the cattle raising… Josiah was bringing cattle home that he'd bought
and was reading books on it, and saw the "white man's" definition of "perfect
cattle" and laughed, and the rest of the family read it, and they all laughed
except for Rocky who said, "Those books are written by scientists. They know
everything there is to know about beef cattle. That's the trouble with the way