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73 pages 2 hours read

Leslie Marmon Silko

Ceremony

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1977

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Discussion/Analysis Prompt

Ceremony has an unusual structure, with no chapters and multiple stories told in verse woven throughout. Why do you think Silko has included the verse stories that punctuate Tayo’s own prose story? What does the story of Hummingbird and Fly, or the story of the Gambler, add to your understanding of Tayo’s story? Why are some of the veterans’ bar stories presented in verse? Pick a specific verse section and analyze its purpose in the novel.

Teaching Suggestion: To facilitate discussion, consider dividing students into several groups and allowing them to select a verse section/storyline to consider amongst themselves. Different groups discussing the same verse section/storyline will likely come up with several different points and provide a more complete understanding of that section.

Differentiation Suggestion: Students with processing challenges may benefit from a more structured approach. Consider providing students with a copy of a particular verse section and its surrounding material; students can highlight or underline passages where they see points of comparison (or contrast) before considering the section’s relevance broadly.

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