Lullaby by Leslie Marmon Silko – Summary. The story is comprised mostly of the main character’s thoughts, which I decided were more easily. According to Suzanne Lundquis, the three forms of this trend are: Reclamation of heritage through literary expression; Discovery and. deals with a short story “Lullaby” (), written by Leslie Marmon Silko, and Key Words: Native Americans, Leslie Marmon Silko, memories, storytelling, loss, .

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Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. Lullabby on a reservation, she was educated at a Bureau of Indian Affairs school and a private Catholic one.

Introduction & Overview of Lullaby

She has explained that Pueblo Indian culture is in many ways matriarchal, and that women and men do not suffer the kinds of gender inequalities present in Anglo culture. In this story, Ayah recalls such traditions as her mother weaving blankets on a loom set outside, while her grandmother spun the yarn from wool.

A collection of essays by Native American writers on Native American identity and the writing process. The blanket is a key motif in this story, as it links Ayah with her grandmother and her dead son Jimmie, in addition to associations with both life and death throughout her life.

Retrieved December 26, from Encyclopedia. Looking down at her worn shoes in the snow, she recalls the warm buckskin moccasins Native Sillo had once worn.

Ayah recalls her grandmother spinning yarn from wool and passing on traditional songs. Through a variety of formats, Silko attempts to reproduce the effect of oral storytelling in a written English form. Having learned much about her Laguna Pueblo cultural heritage from her grandmother and other female relatives, Silko often focuses on themes of the ways in which native culture is passed on through the matrilinear generations. The verb that is storytelling, that is the interaction of text and reader, is where meaning is made.

This allowed her to devote herself full time to her next novel, Almanac of the Dead, which took almost ten years to write and was published in She looks for him at the bar, where he can usually be found on the days he receives and cashes their small assistance check, but he is not there. After Ayah finds him walking in the snow, Chato lays down to rest. In this story, Silko is concerned with the ways in which storytelling can heal and transform the experience of loss—both personal and cultural.


The old army blanket becomes even more significant at the end of the story, when Ayah wraps it around her husband as he lies curled up to die in the snow. AIM was disbanded in the early s. InSilko published a collection of her own essays entitled Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit: University of Nebraska Books, Furthermore, these events seem to have led to a long-term alienation between the old woman and her husband.

This character is significant in that he represents the Native American who helps the white authorities in the oppression and exploitation of other Native Americans.

Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. The doctors had chased her at first, but gave up and left. Her first child, Jimmie, dies in a helicopter crash during oullaby war.

Due to prejudice and poverty, she is quietly deemed unfit. She later loses her two young children, Danny and Ella, to the white doctors who intimidate lulaby into signing an agreement allowing them to take the children to a sanitarium. She sees only that it is being thrust upon her in an intimidating way, and that they are regarding her children as an animal does its prey: Because she did not know English, and could not read, she signed the paper simply out of fear, in hopes that they would go away.

In this act lullwby discovery, readers are undertaking the journey Silko most wants for them. It lullaaby out to be worse for Ayah to know a little bit of English only enough to sign her name than not to know any English at all.

The Pueblo Migration Stories. When Chato is dying, Ayah sings him a lullaby her grandmother had sung to her. She blames Chato for having taught her to write her name and refuses to sleep next to him for many years thereafter. An old woman in the present tense of the story, Ayah thinks back on key events in her life. The resulting narrative si,ko the give and take of oral storytelling and creates a unique reading experience. Silko has been associated with other writers of this renaissance such as Scott Momaday, James Welch, and Gerald Vizenor.


Though Native American silk are rendered meaningless or simply unheard by traditional Anglo interpretive structures, the song is a great hope.

ESSAY CEMETERY: Lullaby by Leslie Marmon Silko – Summary

The ability to glean differing and sometimes conflicting interpretations from the ritual of reading is what Silko relies upon in her narrative. When they try to take the children, she grabs them and runs for the hills. The lullaby represents the passing of oral tradition from generation to generation of women in the Native American family: In the present tense of the story, Ayah is an old woman reflecting on her personal history: Although she has no idea what she is signing, she does so because she is afraid of them and wants them to go away.

Chato has learned to speak English, presumably as a means of fairing better in a world dominated by whites, and so she blames Chato for the theft of her children by the white authorities: The ritual of reading, or the interaction of the reader with the written words, is likened to the storytelling event and is the event that creates meaning.

She dies, and readers travel to the end of her story, which becomes, in the words of the poem, a lullbay story. When her husband is dying, she turns to a traditional lullaby sung by her lullabj in order to comfort him through the process of death.