Made from the Stolen Land

At this point in the novel, we've started to see just how deep the trauma runs for Tayo. Silko writes that,

The Scalp Ceremony lay to rest the Japanese souls in the green humid jungles, and it satisfied the female giant who fed on the dreams of warriors. But there was something else now, as Betonie said: it was everything they had seen—the cities, the tall buildings, the noise and the lights, the power of their weapons and machines. They were never the same after that: they had seen what the white people had made from the stolen land.” ~Ceremony

Tayo is apparently feeling much better about the wartime violence he lived through in the Pacific Theater; however, what is now being made abundantly clear is that the greater trauma for Tayo has been seeing the prosperity that has been built upon a foundation of exploitation and genocide. While there has been mention of this throughout the novel, this is the first time it is spelled out so starkly.

I dwell on this passage because I think of it so often when I am pensive about education. The acquisition of knowledge and wisdom is so frequently characterized as "enlightening," that is to say as literally shining light into darkness. Yet, there is also a great burden upon our consciousness that accompanies the acquisition of knowledge. This is particularly true with regard to history. Even a cursory study of our collective past, if rigorous and moderately objective, brings with it a great weight of death and destruction.

However, as we will see with Tayo, Silko will propose that there is still hope for healing.