Ceremony Quotes

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Ceremony Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
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Ceremony Quotes Showing 1-30 of 51
“But as long as you remember what you have seen, then nothing is gone. As long as you remember, it is part of this story we have together.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“You don't have anything
if you don't have the stories.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“I will tell you something about stories . . . They aren't just entertainment. Don't be fooled. They are all we have, you see, all we have to fight off illness and death.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“The only way to get change is not through the courts or — heaven forbid — the politicians, but through a change of human consciousness and through a change of heart. Only through the arts — music, poetry, dance, painting, writing — "can we really reach each other,”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“You damn your own soul better than I ever could.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“For a long time he had been white smoke. He did not realize that until he left the hospital, because white smoke had no consciousness of itself. It faded into the white world of their bed sheets and walls; it was sucked away by the words of doctors who tried to talk to the invisible scattered smoke... They saw his outline but they did not realize it was hollow inside.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“Being alive was all right then: he had not breathed like that for a long time.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“He had to keep busy; he had to keep moving so that the sinews connected behind his eyes did not slip loose and spin his eyes to the interior of his skull where the scenes waited for him.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“Distances and days existed in themselves then; they all had a story. They were not barriers. If a person wanted to get to the moon, there is a way; it all depended on whether you knew the directions... on whether you knew the story of how others before you had gone. He had believed in the stories for a long time, until the teachers at Indian school taught him not to believe in that kind of "nonsense". But they had been wrong.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“He cried the relief he felt at finally seeing the pattern, the way all the stories fit together—the old stories, the war stories, their stories—to become the story that was still being told. He was not crazy; he had never been crazy. He had only seen and heard the world as it always was: no boundaries, only transitions through all distances and time.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“I will tell you something about stories, [he said] They aren’t just entertainment. Don’t be fooled. They are all we have, you see, all we have to fight off illness and death.   You don’t have anything if you don’t have the stories.   Their evil is mighty but it can’t stand up to our stories. So they try to destroy the stories let the stories be confused or forgotten. They would like that They would be happy Because we would be defenseless then.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“He could get no rest as long as the memories were tangled with the present”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“That was the responsibility that went with being human, old Ku’oosh said, the story behind each word must be told so there could be no mistake in the meaning of what had been said; and this demanded great patience and love.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“He liked the way she talked. There was something in her eyes too. He saw it the first time when she had said, 'I've seen you before many times, and I always remembered you.' Josiah could not remember ever seeing her before, but there was something in her hazel brown eyes that made him believe her.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“Josiah said that only humans had to endure anything, because only humans resisted what they saw outside themselves. Animals did not resist. But they persisted, because they became part of the wind. (...) So they moved with the snow, became part of the snowstorm which drifted up against the trees and fences. And when they died, frozen solid against a fence, with the snow drifted around their heads? "Ah, Tayo," Josiah said, "the wind convinced them they were the ice.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“He made a story for all of them, a story to give them strength. The words of the story poured out of his mouth as if they had substance, pebbles and stone extending to hold the corporal up...knees from buckling...hands from letting go of the blanket.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“They are afraid, Tayo. They feel something happening, they can see something happening around them, and it scares them. Indians or Mexicans or whites—most people are afraid of change. They think that if their children have the same color of skin, the same color of eyes, that nothing is changing.” She laughed softly. “They are fools. They blame us, the ones who look different. That way they don’t have to think about what has happened inside themselves.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“Josiah said that only humans had to endure anything, because only humans resisted what they saw outside themselves.”
Silko, Cérémonie
“The word he chose to express “fragile” was filled with the intricacies of a continuing process, and with a strength inherent in spider webs woven across paths through sand hills where early in the morning the sun becomes entangled in each filament of web.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“It took a great deal of energy to be a human being, and the more the wind blew and the sun moved southwest, the less energy Tayo had.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“Jungle rain had no beginning or end; it grew like foliage from the sky, branching and arching to the earth, sometimes in solid thickets entangling the islands, and other times, in tendrils of blue mist curling out of coastal clouds. The jungle breathed an eternal green that fevered men until they dripped sweat the way rubbery jungle leaves dripped the monsoon rain.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“But it left something with him; as long as the hummingbird had not abandoned the land, somewhere there were still flowers, and they could all go on.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“He lay there and hated them. Not for what they wanted to do with him, but for what they did to the earth with their machines, and to the animals with their packs of dogs and their guns. It happened again and again, and the people had to watch, unable to save or to protect any of the things that were so important to them. He ground his teeth together; there must be something he could do to still the vague, constant fear unraveling inside him: the earth and the animals might not know; they might not understand that he was not one of them; he was not one of the destroyers.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“The people had been taught to despise themselves because they were left with barren land and dry rivers. But they were wrong. It was the white people who had nothing; it was the white people who were suffering as thieves do, never able to forget that their pride was wrapped in something stolen, something that had never been, and could never be, theirs. The destroyers had tricked the white people as completely as they had fooled the Indians, and now only a few people understood how the filthy deception worked; only a few people knew that the lie was destroying the white people faster than it was destroying Indian people. But the effects were hidden, evident only in the sterility of their art, which continued to feed off the vitality of other cultures, and in the dissolution of their consciousness into dead objects: the plastic and neon, the concrete and steel. Hollow and lifeless as a witchery clay figure. And what little still remained to white people was shriveled like a seed hoarded too long, shrunken past its time, and split open now, to expose a fragile, pale leaf stem, perfectly formed and dead.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“This feeling was their life, vitality locked deep in blood memory, and the people were strong, and the fifth world endured, and nothing was ever lost as long as the love remained.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“In that hospital they don't bury the dead, they keep them in rooms and talk to them.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“The room pulsed with feeling,”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“If the white people never looked beyond the lie, to see that theirs was a nation built on stolen land, then they would never be able to understand how they had been used by the witchery; they would never know that they were still being manipulated by those who knew how to stir the ingredients together: white thievery and injustice boiling up the anger and hatred that would finally destroy the world: the starving against the fat, the colored against the white. The destroyers had only to set it into motion, and sit back to count the casualties. But it was more than a body count; the lies devoured white hearts, and for more than two hundred years white people had worked to fill their emptiness; they tried to glut the hollowness with patriotic wars and with great technology and the wealth it brought. And always they had been fooling themselves, and they knew it.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“You damn your own soul better than I ever could”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
“There are much worse things, you know. The destroyers: they work to see how much can be lost, how much can be forgotten. They destroy the feeling people have for each other."
He took a deep breath; it hurt his chest. He thought of Josiah then, and Rocky
"Their highest ambition is to gut human beings while they are still breathing, to hold the heart still beating so the victim will never feel anything again. When they finish, you watch yourself from a distance and you can't even cry - not even for yourself."
He recognized it then: the thick white skin that had enclosed him, silencing the sensations of living, the live as well as the grief; and he had been left with only the hum of the tissues that enclosed him. He never knew how long he had been lost there, in that hospital in Los Angeles.
"They are all around now. Only destruction is capable of arousing a sensation, the remains of something alive in them; and each time they do it, the scar thickens, and they feel less and less, yet still hungering for more.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony

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