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Stories give individuals their identity. Over the years, they cease to be mere stories and become a part of the people. This is why they are an essential part of human cultures all over the world.
In Silko’s narratives, individuals are deeply affected by stories. The Yellow Woman explores her sexuality freely in one night of passion because the tribal stories sanction it. Silko herself attributes her passion for telling stories as a product of her tribal culture. It is an integral part of her American Indian identity.
“Storytelling is a whole way of seeing yourself. It is a whole way of being” (Silko, p.150). According to Silko, stories give an individual identity and help them settle into their rightful place in the community. “You know who you are by the stories told about you” (Silko, p. 56). Ultimately, the individuals affected by these stories become characters in their own stories through their actions. “You should understand the way it was back then because it is the same even now” (Silko, p.157). Stories connect the past, present and future. By helping people understand the past, they aid in making present and future decisions.
Believing in witchery gives it the power to interfere in a person’s life and cause havoc. The resultant fear incapacitates someone and makes them unable to take action. The fear robs people of the ability to control their own lives. Only by reconnecting with tribal traditions is someone healed from the poisoning effect of witchery.
The fear caused by witchery causes illness in people. In the narrative, Tayo wishes to disappear from the earth. This is witchery manifesting itself as desperation and hopelessness. This is the reason behind the suicidal tendencies. The greatest fear is that one can do nothing about the situation. Witchery makes someone fearful of taking control of their destiny. It makes them feel that they are not responsible for anything that happens.
Tayo believes that the
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