By Catherine Rainwater
In desires of Fiery Stars, Catherine Rainwater examines the novels of writers reminiscent of Momaday, Linda Hogan, Leslie Marmon Silko, Gerald Vizenor, and Louise Erdrich and contends that the very act of writing narrative imposes constraints upon those authors which are international to local American culture. Their works quantity to a holiday with -- and a metamorphosis of -- American Indian storytelling.The booklet makes a speciality of the time table of social and cultural regeneration encoded in modern local American narrative, and addresses key questions about how those works in attaining their brazenly acknowledged political and revisionary goals. Rainwater explores the ways that the writers create readers who comprehend the relationship among storytelling and private and social transformation; considers how modern local American narrative rewrites Western notions of area and time; examines the life of intertextual connections among local American works; and appears on the important function of local American literature in mainstream society at the present time.
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Additional info for Dreams of Fiery Stars: The Transformations of Native American Fiction
This passage is a metacritical statement upon the act of looking at the "designs" that artists set up, whether verbal or visual. Once a reader begins to "see" the "picture," to detect the hint of a pattern, he or she is "pulled in ... " The careless reader is virtually ensnared in the view or vision of the world implied in the pattern, while the careful reader sees "the snare . . the invisible loop hidden in the . . words" (185) and begins to develop a more epistemologically sophisticated, larger vision of "reality" as a socially constructed, malleable phenomenon.
45) Pointedly raising doubts in the reader about which interpretive rules or frame of reference to engage, Silko's text poses questions about origination and legitimation of knowledge. 46 Silko highlights the semiotic practices that govern meaning in contexts, and she challenges the authority of western assumptions before taking the next, more politically charged step of inviting the reader to help change the rules not only of storytelling, but also of world-making. "47 The second type of discourse in Ceremony—prose narrative —encodes a secular-historical reality that, at first, seems distinct from the spiritual world described in the chantways.
Imagination is a radically unstable force; like "C'ko'yo witches," it can create a deadly reality, or, like Hummingbird, it can help repair the world. Imagination lies behind the development of atomic energy—released owing to the inherent instability of the very atoms that make up the universe. Imagination also lies behind the "story" that Thought Woman "is thinking" and that the reader is asked to "accept" together with the responsibility for its message. Through deft management of the power relations inherent in narration, 16 Chapter 1 Silko tells a story making the reader responsible for his or her imaginative acts and, hence, for the world.