Monday, September 8, 2014

Storyteller - Interpretations of Family

The book Storyteller has pictures spread throughout the book.  These pictures are used to help describe the main point of the story.  Silko primarily uses pictures of people from the text or examples of landscape.  One of the pictures I focused on was a picture of her Grandma A’mooh.  The picture is placed six lines into the passage on page 31.  Silko begins the story describing how she called her grandma the wrong name for many years.  She called her Grandma A’mooh due to hearing her say a Laguna expression of endearment.  The mix up occurred when her grandma was caring for her as a child.
                I decided to analyze the picture during the reading.  The picture shows her two sisters and grandma reading a book.  There is a sense of love and compassion between them.  The grandma has a motherly feel with her wearing an apron and the kids hovering over her.  The relationship between them looks close as if she was a second mother.  The kids have a look of innocence.  One of them has their underwear pulled up higher than her pants.  It is fitting that the word used as her name means endearment.  The grandma and the child depend on each other to get through the day.
The story goes on the say that the kids eventually took care of her grandma.  A part of her story includes helping her grandma clean yucca roots, carry buckets of coal, and helped keep the fire burning.  In addition, they were afraid of her falling and hurting herself.  It is hard to say how far apart in time the picture is to the text.  The story says most of the help was when she was in her eighties.  The pictures shows her around that time.  Her overall appearance looks very old and frail.  Silko probably chose that picture because it is how she remembers Grandma A’mooh.  It is also unclear on if the author is of similar age as her sisters.  There is only mentioning of going to school and growing up beside her house.
Silko did this same technique on a short passage about Grampa Hank on page 185.  The story is about how Grampa Hank had a passion for engineering and automobiles.  He wanted to design cars, but he was told Indians weren’t supposed pursue that profession.  He listened to his teachers and became a store clerk.  The story is followed by a picture of Grampa Hank standing by a 1933 Auburn.  The car is not the 1957 Thunderbird from the story.  However, the picture follows the theme of his love for cars.
The image also shows some of the character’s personality.  From the story, it seems like he was an honest and hard worker.  Hank saved up for years until he was able to buy his dream car.  Silko chose a picture of him dressed in nice clothes.  It portrays him being an average and clean cut man.  The style of his dress is probably similar to a store clerk of that time.  I read the story once without looking at the picture and there wasn’t as much depth.  When the picture was added, details were more apparent and easier to visualize.  There isn’t very much going on in the picture, but small details can be selected from it.  The picture also acts as an introduction for other stories of Hank further on in the book.
Overall, I feel that the pictures added meaning to the story.  Authors can describe people clearly, but having the picture really adds another perspective.  Silko was strategic with the choice of pictures.  The time period and aspect that was trying to be portrayed was taken into account.  Analyzing the picture shows that it encompasses more than what is first perceived.  Connections between the picture and text seem to increase the more they are examined.  Something as small as the clothing they are wearing can help describe the person or story.  A person wearing an apron seems normal, but adding it into a story with them cooking makes the connection.  Then further parts of the story describing them grinding the red chili makes it come to life.    The placement of the photo is also another key point.  Not only does it break the text up physically, but shows the picture at the right time.  It creates a flow that helps move the reader along.  Silko did this well throughout the book and made it an enjoyable read.

1 comment:

  1. This doesn't really follow the prompt. You are commenting on the pictures, and there's nothing wrong with the commentary as such - there are details which you touch on that deserve attention. But there isn't anything resembling an argument here. How should we read "Storyteller" (the story) or "Lullayby" differently because of how you have interpreted the images? What can you do with them to help us understand the text in a way we couldn't understand it without the images? Your commentary on the images is very general, and then you don't really draw any conclusions. Always when writing an essay you need to be able to show the reader why it *matters* that you have chosen your focus - that isn't clear here.