October 19, 2011
Lullaby: The connection between nature and humans
The author of “Lullaby,” Leslie Marmon Silko, is a Native American writer who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She grew up in the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico. The story is about a Navajo woman, Ayah, and the way she is suffering constantly for the loss of her children. Two of themwere taken away by the white doctors. They made her sign a paper that she didn’t understand, for consequence she authorized them to take the children without knowing. The other one, Jimmie died at war. After those events, Ayah had found peace at an old age, and by living in a world of indifference; she tries to heal the wounds produced by the loss of her children and the suffering she has facedthrough her life.
The story is made from present to past to present. At the beginning we found Ayah as an old woman who remembers her children, in the barn near the arroyo. She wraps herself with the wool blanket that her son gave her, and this brings memories from her past. The blanket is an instrument. It creates parallel thoughts between her dead son and her mother. While being in the barn usingthe blanket, she felt in peace. She stopped feeling cold. Now, she could remember the day her son was born and how she called her mother to help her. Having Ayah walking behind her mother demonstrates a strong relationship based on respect. With this, she tries to find peace in the nature and she goes back to the past. For her is like going to the past in order to feel comfortable.
For Ayah,white people are messengers of death. In the story, white people notify her husband of Jimmie’s death. White doctors took away her children by making her sign a paper she doesn’t understand. Also, Ayah’s husband, Chato, was fired because he was too old to work, and new people had been hired. In the story, white people had caused pain for her and her family. “For Ayah, life is a cycle. At the beginningof the story she reaches out to the snow "like her own babies did"--an old woman, near death, becoming like a baby again. This snow reminds her of "new wool-washed before the weaver spins it" and carries her back in memory to the wool that she watched her grandmother spin long ago, when she was young.” (Hardy)
Jimmie died in a faraway place; at war. He was killed when his helicopter crashed.The authorities would try to find his body and bring him back. For Ayah, he wasn’t dead; simply, her son never came back. She could remember the day an officer came to notify them. She could not understand English; she was inside the doorway while her husband was talking with the white man. Chato seemed to care for her wife’s feelings. First, he rejected the option of bringing his son’s body back.Then, he chooses the right words to speak of death, “Jimmie isn’t coming home anymore.” (Silko) After that we see a woman who mourns his so as the years pass by; the son who could help the family.
Ayah also remembers when “she ran south into the foothills of juniper trees and lava rock.” (Silko) In order to escape from the white doctors who wanted to take her children. The white doctors madeher sign a paper. All they wanted was to take the children. Without knowing nothing more than just how to sign her name; she took the pen and signed without knowing what she was signing. The hills were a kind of refuge for her. At the time she was in the hills, she can see herself as a bird. “The sun warmth relaxed her and took the fear and anger away. She lay back on the rock and watched thesky. It seemed that she could walk into the sky.” (Silko) But when her husband explains that she already signed the papers feels bad because it was her own fault. She was proud of knowing how to write her name in English but not anymore. At that time, Ayah wish his son Jimmie was there in order to explain the meaning of those papers because, now she could not understand the language.