Separation of Man and His Needs For the Benefit of the Whole?

In Ceremony, on page 10, the narrator illustrates an important memory of Tayo’s in which jungle rain becomes a futile source of agony and defeat prompting Tayo in desperation to pray its existence away in order to save Rocky.  The nature of jungle rain in this section is described as having “no beginning or end; it grew like foliage from the sky, branching and arching to the earth…” representing a force soon to cause an event that will ultimately render Tayo’s spirit and psyche broken and near irreparable – Rocky’s death.

In Tayo’s instinctual and semi-omniscient desperation to prevent the impending unraveling of his mental health, he chooses to “pray” away this force of rain and therefore elevate his individual priority for survival with the instantly gratifying guaranteed safety of an individual in whom Tayo derives his own identity, sense of family and connection to humanity.  However, as the novel advances its plot, we learn of a persistent drought in the Laguna Reservation with disastrous effects.  As Silko crafts her story to imply Tayo feeling responsibility for the waterless and rainless conditions straining the land, I believe this a calculated move to highlight a consequence and the rippling effects of actions predicated by attitudes or perspectives in which individual needs and desires take precedence over the whole of nature and the conditions necessary to preserve it.  Specifically, Silko has crafted a compelling and dire circumstance and provided good intention for Tayo’s wish for rain to end therefore eliminating general scapegoat repeat offenders against nature,
yet still spotlights the repercussions of disregarding the constant benefit and reliance on rain by Tayo in his moment of deep need for Rocky to escape certain death which is not an unreasonable wish.  The fact that Tayo loses Rocky and proceeds to come undone also suggests Silko’s awareness in her writing of the complexity of human psychological or
social needs in sustaining mental health or peace of mind.  The conflict of these two opposing forces appears to be what is most in need of resolution to find balance between nature and humanity if both are to move forward in harmony.

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