I'm feeling very ill today, and so I preface this post with a recognition that I might not make a whole lot of sense. I suppose little bit of irrationality is the case during illness, as we see with Tayo.
Reading this section I settled on the scene in the bar as my passage for focus. While there is a lot to consider in these pages, I'm particularly drawn to Tayo's response to his friend's cajoling for war stories. After using a fair bit of sarcasm to humiliate his friends, he says that, “I’m half-breed. I’ll be the first to say it. I’ll speak for both sides" (Ceremony). When I first read this novel, I did so in consort with Gloria Anzaldúa's Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. So, in many ways for me the critical reading lens from Anzaldúa's work and the fiction of Silko's are two sides of a the same coin.
At one point, Anzaldúa writes:
“Like all people, we perceive the version of reality that our culture communicates. Like others having or living in more than one culture, we get multiple, often opposing messages. The coming together of two self-consistent but habitually incomparable frames of reference causes un choque, a cultural collision” (Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza.)
In light of our ongoing conversation about Ceremony as a work of feminist literature, I wonder if this might not help us make a better determination than we have thus been able to accomplish. If we recall our conversations about the desire of patriarchy to be singular, particularly from Margaret Atwood's novels, then might not this "half" status be a kind of feminist resistance to patriarchal forces? Furthermore, might this not be a particularly feminist take on post colonialism?
I realize this post has far more questions than answers, more pondering than conclusions. Yet, isn't that the great power of literature, to unsettle and complicate what we assumed we understood, what we "knew"?