Looking InDepth at Storytelling by Silko Essay

This essay has a total of 1319 words and 6 pages.

Looking InDepth at Storytelling by Silko




Looking In-Depth at "Storytelling" by Silko
Leslie Marmon Silko is a Laguna Pueblo Indian who has written many novels and poems in her
lifetime. One of these poems, "Storytelling," is very interesting to me. This poem
excites me because it tells of the impact that storytelling has on people in Laguna
culture. I will analyze and explore many parts of this poem. One of these subjects is
theme. The theme of "Storytelling" is actually the art of storytelling. Another aspect
of the poem I will look at is tension. There is a specific tension between the husband
and the wife in this poem. Next, I will explore how imagery helped Silko strengthen her
writing. Then, I will look at how the form of "Storytelling" is different from that of
other poems. Finally, I will compare "Storytelling" to another poem, written by Luci
Tapahonso entitled, "Blue Horses Rush In." All these aspects put together will enable me
to do a complete textual analysis of "Storytelling."


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To start, I will begin with the theme of "Storytelling." The theme of the poem is the art
of storytelling, hence the name.

At the end of the poem the author says, "My husband left after he heard the story and
moved back in with his mother. It was my fault and I donít blame him either"(Silko 424).
As the reader, you think that the woman is feeling bad about lying to her husband and she
doesnít blame him for leaving her because she has sinned. Then the next line reads, "I
could have told the story better than I did"(Silko 424). This surprises the reader
because the ending's not expected. This shows that the woman isnít really feeling bad
about what she did, or what happened; she only wishes that she could have told a better
story so her husband would stay with her. These quotes prove the theme of the poem; that
storytelling is very important in the Laguna culture. It is what the people pride
themselves on and the woman in the poem could have done a better job. Earlier on in the
poem the husband says, "You better have a damn good story"(Silko 423). It is almost as if
the husband is expecting a better story than what he receives, so not satisfied with the
lines his wife feeds him, he leaves. From these lines it is obvious that the stories
told, and how the people tell them is the theme of the poem "Storytelling". This is not
only a theme in the poem, but I


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believe that it also represents a very prominent theme in the Laguna culture.
Other themes in the poem are adultery and lying, but these also portray the main tensions
in the poem in addition to themes. The tension is between the husband and the wife. A
mysterious being shows up and kidnaps the wife. When she returns she tries to tell her
husband what happened in terms that he would understand. The husband, now very upset,
believes that his wife committed adultery. The tension starts when the husband says, "You
better have a damn good story about where you have been for the past ten months and how
you explain these twin baby boys"(Silko 423). You can tell from this quote that the
husband is not happy and wants an explanation; and it better be a good one. The wife
retaliates by saying, "No! That gossip isnít true"(Silko 423). The wife feels that she
needs to defend herself against the false accusations that her husband made. The rest of
the poem the wife tells her story in order to try to persuade her husband of the truth.
She wants to resolve the tension. Her attempts to persuade her husband are unsuccessful.
So the tension is never really resolved because the husband leaves. Therefore, there is
probably still tension surrounding the subject.


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There are many images in "Storytelling" that help set the scene and develop a mood. A
couple images that help to set the scene are, "Öthe sun came over the long red mesa"(Silko
422) and, "She looked into the shallow clear water"(Silko 423). This gives an image of
how mystical and magical the scene was when the "Buffalo Man" came to get the woman in the
story. This image gives the reader the impression that this is a mysterious event. The
images are also calm and soothing which relay those feelings over to the reader. This way
the reader can understand what the woman in the poem is feeling at the time. However, I
donít think she feels that way for too long. Another image produced later on in the poem
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