Hybridity can be understood merely as a cross between two distinct races or cultures. Notably, the concept of hybridity began a long time ago when cultures began to intermix and generate offspring that were recognized to be a mix, or a hybrid, of two races. It should be noted that the term hybrid goes past just persons since it entails everything that human beings do. It involves, morphing together of various cuisines or the combination of music styles and morphing are some of the most prominent forms of hybridity. Hybridity is manifest in the book, Ceremony, in various ways. Essentially, Leslie Marmon Silko and Tayo is an ideal reflection of hybridity since she has mixed blood of half white and half Indian (Silko, 2016). Ceremony's setting in the American South West obviously constitutes of the broad mix of cultures that makes this region to be viewed as a home. Silko seeks to explore the various cultural influences or mixes in this region as well pointing out how these different cultures are expected to interact.
Leslie discusses ways in which an individual can be part of something while at the same time he or she is regarded as a foreigner. For instance, Tayo, the main character of the book is encountered with this conflict. He was depicted to be half white and half Native American. He was brought up into the customs and traditions of the Native Americans, although, to the Native Americans and the Whites he was seen as an outsider. As a result, he was treated in a manner that he did not belong to any of the groups. Due to this concept of hybrid, he had to find ways in which he could fit in with both customs without causing any disrespect to the other. This means that he had to mix the traditions of both races so that he could find balance and remain neutral in both worlds. Notably, these two groups did not get along so well hence making Tayo's efforts to strike a balance between the two worlds hard. Therefore, the author seeks to present the struggles or problems faced by individuals who have cultural hybridity.
Subsequently, the maintenance of identity in the book Ceremony and the notions of transformation and identity are challenging for the characters in Lesli's book. It is crucial to record that Tayo's hybridity mirrors the various aspects that are feared by the Laguna populaces. The development of change and the cultural hybridity has provided an imminent menace of destruction to the Native American traditions. In as much as they precluded him due to his mixed tradition, Tayo's expedition is not his own but a furtherance of the storytelling custom that exemplifies Inherent American traditions. Due to his custom, he learns to apply his Mexican and White Custom to identify himself without disowning his Native America practices. As a consequence, Tayo stays with Night Swan and reveals to her about his feelings which embroils being alienated from his family and the Laguna people. "I always wished I had dark eyes like other people. When they look at me, they remember things that happened." (Silko, pg. 99, 2016). He struggles opening up to others due to his mixed traditions hence bringing out the concept of change that most of the Native Americans fear that it will make them lose their heritage.
Nevertheless, it is essential to note that the perspectives of Tayo's character as depicted in this work provides the reader with instances that are possible to observe their traditions regardless of the western influences. The determination of Tayo to complete his ceremony implies that through maintenance and performance of Native American Cultural customs becomes viable. In the cultural hybridity about the performance of rituals helps Tayo to learn about the meaning and significance of Laguna heritage (Silko, 2016). This implies that it is essential to embrace hybridity since it gives an individual with an opportunity to understand other people's perceptions and their way of life. Lack of having hybridity will make one become closed minded making it hard to relate to others that are of a different heritage. It is also necessary to record that, notwithstanding hybrid presented as two distinct cultures mixed together, one does not necessarily have to be mixed blood to learn and relate to people who are not like you.
The other perspective of hybridity is reflected by Rocky and Aunt's behavior which represents those who sought assimilation and accomplishing success among white people. Rocky intends to do away with the reservation and integrating customs of the American society. Instead, he puts more effort on his school life in high school and adapts the heritage of his people through the scientific wisdom he attained from the books. According to Rocky, he does not recognize rituals and stories since he feels ashamed watching his family engaging in such traditions. Due to the mixture of cultures, he finds it hard adapting to both cultures. For example, when they go hunting, he goes to Tayo to ask him why he was wrapping the head of the deer with a jacket. He was told that, "To show their love and respect, their appreciation; otherwise, the deer would be offended, and they would not come to die for them the following year" (Silko, pg.50, 2016). This depicts the rituals that are performed for the deer which also entailed sprinkling cornmeal on its nose to satisfy its spirit. Even though Rocky was aware of all the rituals that were being performed on the dear, according to him, it was not in line with what he was learning at school. He wished they abandon these traditions, but he knew very well that this would not be possible. Therefore, Rocky's viewpoint depicts the western perspectives towards primary oral beliefs. In most of the times, they consider these cultures to be "primitive" as well as their understanding and thoughts being obsolete.
Moreover, the other concept of Hybridity is represented by the Auntie. In that, while Rocky's assimilation is accomplished through education, Auntie's has an association with the religion. Evidently, Auntie is presented as a Christian woman, and she carries herself in a manner that will interest the sympathies of the persons in the Pueblo for the sacrifices she made for her relatives. This is seen in the book when the author cites that, "Those who measured life by counting the crosses would not count her sacrifices for Rocky the way they counted her sacrifices for her dead sister's half-breed child" (Silko, pg.29, 2016). It implies that she took care of her nephew and continues to raise him when he is discharged from the Veterans hospital even though she knows that Pueblo citizens will talk about it and underpin her Christian reputation. Nevertheless, assimilating to Christianity is also a reflection of some of the Western values which were drawn from individuality as well as the reimbursement received for hard work. Therefore, these instances represent the cultural hybridity between the Western culture and the traditions that are depicted through the various rituals and practices that are presented in this section.
The author asserts that cultures tend to be bigotry of cultural diversity that seeks either domination or purity since they are afraid of destruction. The book shows the Western society to be solely focused on wealth and dominance, as a consequence, the white culture fails to show any shreds of respect to other heritages. However, Leslie also provides a platform in which he discusses the significance of having cultural hybrid since it brings different people with mixed origins together. The novel sees hope in hybridity; in that, the mixing of cultural boundaries helps people to respect the elements that make every culture distinct. Therefore, the concept of hybridity shows the crossing of cultural boundaries as a reflection of strength.
To sum up, Hybridity is broadly presented in Silko's book. It provides a situation where various Native America people are caught up in between cultures, although they are not all from mixed ancestries. The book presents the concept of hybrid as a necessary feature and a solution to the current issues of racism and hatred as well as the intolerance. For instance, in the incidence of Tayo, he was able to come to terms with his hybrid identity, learned about the cultural metamorphoses and challenge the dominant discourses as well as the expectations they bring. Therefore, there are various hybridity stories in the book Ceremony, the same way they are present in all cultures irrespective of the availability of modern technologies today. Thus, learning about these paramount ceremonies is an ideal way of understanding ourselves.
Silko, L. M. (2016). Ceremony. New York: Penguin Books.
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