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The Yellow Woman
Transcript of The Yellow Woman
Leslie Marmon Silko bases this story on a Native American tale about the "Ka'tsina" spirit. The spirit takes the young woman away from her family seemingly against her will. Throught the story a reader cannot be certain whether the young woman goes willfully or not.
Silko is an accomplished author and has been awarded a National Endowment of the Arts fellowship. She also wrote a book said to be "one of the most important books in modern native American Literature." (Charters 572)
The narrator plays the part of the Yellow Woman. As she is the protagonist, the reader learns how she feels, what she sees, and how she comes to believe she is the "yellow woman".
The man "Silva" is also a protagonist in this story. He does not oppose the narrator. These two strangers seem to genuinely care about each other though they are together only a few days.
There is a stock character in this story who is a white rancher.
Silva and the Yellow Woman wake up "rolled in the red blanket on the white river sand" (Charters 572) After waking she walks South along the river sure she will not go back to where he lay. She decides to walk North back to him so she can say goodbye. Their conversation of the night before has her wondering if the story of the Yellow Woman could be their story. We begin to wonder whether the past is the present.
They ride horseback up into the "dark lava hills" to his cabin. She learns he is a cattle thief when he brings home a steer to dress. She fears he could hurt her, yet she continues to have tender feelings for him.
On the third morning they ride toward Marquez to sell the fresh meat.
On the trip to sell the meat they meet a white rancher who accuses Silva of being a cattle rustler. The two men are confrontational and the Yellow woman gets a feeling from Silva the need for her to flee the scene. After riding to where she could see the mesas, she dismounts the horse and turns it around toward from where they came. She walks along the river toward home. She decides she will tell her family a Navajo kidnapped her.
Tamaracks and willows begin the scene. Thick cedar branches are present. As they travel they go into the foothills where junipers grow. The riverbank is left behind as they go into the mountains where they can view the Navajo reservation of New Mexico. The season seems to be late summer.
The narrator finds herself longing to be the woman in the myth. To be living on the land away from her modern day village and in the time of the stories she remembered as told by her grandfather.
Point of View
First person point of view is held in this story.The Narrator is limited omniscient but nearly all knowing of both main characters.
The story of the Yellow Woman is one that takes the reader away to the nature scenes where the views are easy to imagine and a Navajo myth from the past is relived through the granddaughter of a storyteller.
Charters, Ann, and Samuel Charters, eds.
Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama.
6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martins Press, 2013. Print