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Yellow Woman

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Yellow Woman: Behind the Myth

The Story "Yellow Woman," written by Leslie Marmon Silko features a compelling blurring of the boundaries between myth and everyday experiences between contemporary Native American Life and ancient myths. In Silko's Story, a contemporary Pueblo woman suspects that her liaison with a cattle rustler is a replay of the Yellow Woman legend, in which the woman is abducted by a spirit. The writer reflects in her writing the Pueblo belief about myths and how they are related to the modern world. She also draws the moral strength of the young woman, who as the story progresses, is trying to figure out her identity including how the past and the myths told by her people can be significant in the world she lives.

Myths are symbolic stories. They are stories that incorporated by different cultures to inform generations about their ancestors, heroes, gods and other supernatural beings in their past history. In this story the relation to myth and everyday experiences can be seen in the way in which the man calls her Yellow Woman, who according to myth was a woman who went away with a spirit from the North and lived with him for a long time, only returning years later with her twin boys. Although the young woman faces the same predicament as that of the mythical Yellow Woman, by leaving her husband and her son and going with the strange man she meets by the river bank. She still believes unlike the woman of the past she is the Yellow Woman of the present and she has choices meaning she can always decide to head back to her people when ever she wills. But despite all the feelings she has about not being Yellow Woman and the conscience of family she has left behind, she still feels compelled to seek as Yellow Woman had in the past.

She feels drawn to the man named Silva. Although much is not known about the man other than what he tells us about his type of work and what it involves, "I steal from them" (46). He does not talk about himself and he seems to know a great deal about the territories and where the boundaries lie. He is the first person to call her Yellow Woman and because of that he initiates the Yellow Woman myth in her head. He does not give her a choice and from the way he talks to her, he sounds very much in control his moves are almost calculated and one might wonder if the story of the mythical Yellow Woman is one he uses to whoa young women to his house.

In any case she fears him and yet feels mysteriously compelled to stay with him. She sounds rather, captivated, transfixed, even hypnotized by him, destined to go with him to his house in the mountains. She follows him where he leads her all the while trying to keep in mind that she is not Yellow Woman. She is living in the present, a present that has enabled her to go to school and learn the rich heritage of her people. Through school she has learnt the realities of life and that myths were stories told by her people, by her grandfather and that they are not true. Nevertheless the further she goes with Silva the more she questions the knowledge she has acquired and hopes that she will be able to see something that will give her certainty that he is only a man (28).

Silko's story "Yellow Woman" engulfs a mystical approach to the way of life of traditional Native Americans, their belief in the spiritual world and how it relates to them and their present lives. Myth was the means by which American Indians made sense of the unpredictable universe and used it to explain the past as well as understand the present ( 2) Many of the myths told like that of Yellow Woman involved humans and non human characters (Eddy pg 1). The past, present and future were usually all entwined in the myth, as stated by Cohen " some Indian tribes believed that their conduct in the present life reflected what they believed their present to have been" Encompassing the past, the future as well as the present created aspects of their "destiny" in which they exhibited themselves as they really were. Cite.

Silko in this short story takes the role of first person narrator as she accounts the tale of "Yellow Woman." She engulfs a mystical approach to feminism and its relation to the past and the present in the Laguna Pueblo society (Boyton pg#). Spiritually according to Blicksilver is a critical aspect in addressing the relationship between reality and the mythical world. The boundary between the two is very thin and most often myth is related to spiritualism, there is a strong sense that behind



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