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World Literature from 1660
Leslie Marmion Silko
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On "Yellow Woman"
 

At the end of the story, Yellow Woman returns to her family having experienced a sexual encounter with Silva and a moment of being the Yellow Woman of mythology.

 

The relationship was on both levels: sexual and spiritual. On one level she was herself engaged in a sexual act with Silva; on the other level she was Yellow Woman, a manifestation of Yellow Woman (think of being the host of a spirit) while Silva was a manifestation of a ka'tsina from the mountains. She is both living in reality and mythology. He acknowledges their relationship of Yellow Woman and ka'tsina when she accused him of using myth to seduce her.

"I don't believe it. Those stories couldn't happen now," I said.
He shook his head and said softly, "But someday they will talk about us, and they will say, 'Those two lived long ago when things like that happened.'"
Then she imagines her grandfather's accepting reaction that she was missing from home: "Stolen by a katsina, a mountain spirit. She'll come home--they usually do."

The story ends with "I decided to tell them that some Navajo had kidnapped me" that would be a story of the day, a believable story when Navajo and
Pueblo peoples lived adjacent to each other and claimed the same tribal lands. But she sorrowed over the Yellow Woman story, over there being no one left anymore who believed that the gods walk among us.

 

Silko's Yellow Woman says that Silva must have been a Navaho because he admitted to stealing, and "Pueblo men didn't do things like that." However, Navajo men also did not steal if they wanted to remain in harmony with the world and follow The Blessing Way. Theft made one out of harmony and affected one's spirit and wellness.
Silva is reflecting Yellow Woman's cultural prejudice against the Navajo in the statement above.
Silva, no matter if he is Navajo or
Pueblo, is acting outside the boundaries of both cultures in his theft and in his killing the rancher. These actions were cultural taboos. By taking these actions, he was not returning to his roots but rather reflecting the influence of the white man. Neither Pueblo nor Navajo had a word for "greed" before encountering the white man.

more to come