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Title: “A beauty of the spirit” : a study of the significance of spirituality in Leslie Marmon Silko’s ‘Ceremony, Almanac of the Dead’, and ‘Gardens in the Dunes’
Authors: Vella, Jana
Keywords: Western stories
Silko, Leslie, 1948-. Ceremony, almanac of the dead -- Criticism and interpretation
Silko, Leslie, 1948-. Gardens in the dunes -- Criticism and interpretation
Laguna Indians in literature
West (U.S.) -- In literature
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: Kenneth M. Roemer claims that up until the 1960s, ‘academics specializing in Native literatures were practically non-existent’, and that it is only of late that this literary branch has been garnering attention. My dissertation joins this rising field of criticism by exploring the novels of Leslie Marmon Silko, a Native American author whose literary contributions have been pivotal to the development of the genre. A Beauty of the Spirit takes as its starting point the idea that many Native American literatures feature links between man, nature, and the spiritual plane. I argue that spirituality is a unifying element in Silko’s Ceremony, Almanac of the Dead and Gardens in the Dunes and that Native American spiritual beliefs shape a number of themes in her writing. I maintain, for instance, that alienation from spirituality is the cause behind her characters’ mental and physical disease and that a return to the spiritual provides them with healing and salvation. Furthermore, the importance of the land in Native American belief systems is discussed and the parallel between the characters’ spiritual state and their natural environment is pointed out. Additionally, I suggest that although Native American spirituality has the greatest influence on Silko, other belief systems, such as African tribal religions, Ancient European Paganism and Christianity are also represented in her writings. It is proposed that whereas the latter is presented negatively in her first two novels, Silko creates a literary space where the two can unite in Gardens in the Dunes. I conclude my dissertation by providing some final thoughts on the matter and by briefly sharing some ideas for further research.
Description: B.A.(HONS)ENGLISH
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2017
Dissertations - FacArtEng - 2017

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