The PEP Reading Group will discuss Leslie Marmo Silko’s Ceremony as part of its Fall 2018 series. This semester’s series explores literature of the West, beginning with a novel about homesteaders in Wyoming in the late nineteenth century and ending with essays published in the late 1960s that incited environmentalists to help save the Southwest from destruction from industrial harm.
Forty years since its original publication, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature, a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He is deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his people. Only by immersing himself in the Indian past can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power.
Convened by Dr. Margaret Garb and Dr. Barbara Baumgartner, the Prison Education Project Reading Group (est. 2014) convenes each semester in the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center to consider a series of texts. Designed to sharpen participants’ reading and critical thinking skills, increase expose to significant and interesting texts, and to promote an intellectual environment within MECC, the Reading Group also builds up the skills needed for participants to become successful applicants to the Prison Education Project.
Image: Haystack, Thomas Hart Benton, 1938, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston