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Language and Literature from a Pueblo Indian Perspective
Transcript of Language and Literature from a Pueblo Indian Perspective
Rhetorical Mode And Structure
Silko uses a variety of modes to help convey her topic, she utilizes a combination of the modes description, example, and analysis.
Silko's structure is similar to an explanatory essay utilizing a deal of background information with a story or a narrative to reinforce her idea.
Leslie Marmon Silko uses a variety of rhetorical strategies to convey her point that language is story. By using these strategies, she is able to make appeals to ethos as well as pathos throughout this piece.
Language and Tone
Word choice and
the environment it creates!
Language and Literature from a Pueblo Indian Perspective
by Leslie Marmon Silko
"Basically, the origin story constructs our identity--with this story, we know who we are. We are the Lagunas. This is where we come from. We came this way. We came by this place."
"So I will begin, appropriately enough, with the Pueblo Creation story, an
story of how life began.
"Where I come from, the words most highly valued are those spoken from the heart,
unpremeditated and unrehearsed.
"Whatever literature we were exposed to at school (which was
), at home the storytelling..."
"Pueblo expresses something like a spider's web--with many little threads radiating from the center, crisscrossing one another."
Leslie Marmon Silko, the author of this essay, was raised in Laguna Pueblo. She focuses on Native American culture in her work. Her culture is based on storytelling which is the main point of this essay.
an oral presentation
everyone, all readers of the text
The purpose of this text is to the show the reader that language and literature are means of telling stories. Storytelling is an eminent part of Pueblo culture and language. In this essay, Silko hows her readers the Pueblo perspective on language and literature.
Storytelling, Language, Culture
- Repetition of a word or words at the beginning of two or more successive verses, clauses, or sentences -
- The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language -
This essay is comprised of many cumulative sentences which shows her dedication to telling the story as opposed to perfecting the language it is presented in.
Ex. "I think again, getting back to one of the original statements, that if you begin to look at the core of the importance of the language and how it fits into the culture, it is the
and the feeling of the story which matters more than what language it's told in"(356).
When Silko presents opinions that she believes are facts, she uses concise sentences.
Ex. "We are the people of these stories" (349)
- The conscious and purposeful replication of words or phrases in order to make a point -
At the start of the piece, Silko addresses the audience directly by informing them that there is a reason why her argument is presented in the way that it is.
"I have intentionally not written a formal paper to read this session because of this and because I want you to hear and experience English in a nontraditional structure, a structure that follows patterns from the oral tradition" (346).
Throughout this essay, Silko guides her readers throughout the argument. She does this to instill a sense of trust and comfort in her readers.
Ex. "Today I have brought a number of examples of stories in English because I would like to get around to the question that has been raised...But at the same time I would like to explain the importance of storytelling and how it relates to the Pueblo theory of language" (347).
- A comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and for the purpose of explanation or clarification-
"...the structure of Pueblo expression resembles something like a spider's web - with many little threads radiating from a center, crisscrossing each other. As with the web, the structure will emerge as it is made and you must simply listen and trust , as the Pueblo people do, that meaning will be made" (347)
. At Laguna many words have
which make them. So when one is telling a
, and one is using words to tell the
, each word that one is speaking has a
of its own too. Often the speakers or the tellers go into the
of the words they are using to tell one
so that you get stories within
, so to speak. This structure becomes very apparent in the
telling...I think what is essential is this sense of
, and the idea that one
is only the beginning of many
, and the sense that
never truly end" (348)
"...were not interested in
stories and the
's account of itself. But these
stories are just as important as other stories - the older stories. These
stories are given equal recognition. There is no definite, preset pattern for the way one will hear the stories of one's own
, but it is a very critical part of one's childhood, and it continues on throughout one's life. You will hear stories of importance to the
...And so one's sense of who the
is, and who you are, will then extend from that...so you have this sort of building or sense of identity" (350)
the Lagunas. This is where we came from.
by this place. And so from the time you are very young, you hear these stories, so that when you go out into the wider world, when one asks who you are, or where are you from, you immediately know:
the people who came down from the north.
the people of these stories" (349)
"The stories are always bringing us
- A combination of anaphora and epistrophe (Repetition of a word or words at the end of two or more successive verses, clauses, or sentences) -
Does your culture strongly value oral heritage through storytelling? How has it shaped the bonds you have made with your immediate family, relatives, etc. ?
Do you believe that your own cultural heritage shapes the way you view storytelling?
Do you think storytelling is an engaging and emotional way to reach out to an audience? Explain.
What does literature mean in your native language?
Has a story that someone has said to you made you feel better about yourself? How?
As expressed earlier, the main purpose of this essay is to show to the reader that language and literature are means of getting stories across. As the title says, Silko gives the reader insight into the Pueblo point of view of language and the story behind words. There are stories for everything and in Pueblo culture; the sharing of these stories is an essential part of life and heritage. It binds the people and connects several generations to one another.
"Just as Houston Baker was speaking about the mesas - they are such gigantic boulders - you cannot live in a land without asking or looking or noticing a boulder or a rock. And there's always a story. There's always at least one story connected with those places..." (356).
Nice quote: For Pueblo and other Native people,
language is story
Silko uses description to strongly depict a scene.
For example, "his little red Volkswagen rolled back into the arroyo and was all smashed up... probably the story that made him feel the best was about the time that George Day's station wagon, with his mother-in-law and kids in the back, rolled into that arroyo." (352)
Silko uses example to help show listeners the style of Pueblo storytelling. "Today I have brought a number of examples of stories in English because I would like to get around the question that has been raised...
So first I would like to go back to the Pueblo Creation story."(347)
The Author: Leslie Marmon Silko
A pottery/artifact showing the value of storytelling in Pueblo culture.
Silko uses analysis to take apart the Pueblo literature style and further show it, "that [Pueblo] language is story. At Laguna many words have stories which make them. So when one is telling a story, and one is using words to tell the story, each word that one is speaking has a story of its own too." (348)
The structure of the essay consists of background information or an explanation of the Pueblo writing, then a story to elaborate on it. As said by Silko,
"I have brought a number of examples of stories in English because I would like to get around to the question that has been raised, or the topic that has come along here, which is what changes we Pueblo writers might make with English as a language for literature." (347)