?Silko’s story deals with the problems that are faced by many who experience death and destruction of war. Tayo’s struggle to complete his ceremony and find renewal is interwined with his interaction with the medican man Betonie and the mysterious woman Ts’eh. By the end of the story, Silko shows that only through respect for the world can humankind achieve competeness and harmony. Tayo must learn to trust the old stores again and realize the power within himself. I believe the first factor that helped tayo was observing the other veterans and seeing how living through the wrong stories stunts any growth and only leads to constant pain.
He starts to understand that those with hope who search for new ways will be the ones that survive and those that live in the past and disregard change will only find evil in the world. Another major factor is he comes to realization that the old stories are guides in navigating life. He understands that the stories are necessary to life and that change is also necessary. Tayo believes he is to blame for all the bad things that had happened during the war when he actually had no control over what happened. Ts’eh was very beneficial to Tayo’s recovery.
During his time with Ts’eh he finds love, acceptance, encouragement, and strength. He begins to remember the old ways more clearly, reconnecting with the Tayo who existed before the war. He is continually reminded of the old ways and old times from Ts’eh. He begins to appreciate the old ways and his grandmothers tales. He see’s the meaning in them and begins to incorporate them into his life. When he went to war he lost this vision and the importance of the past. Ts’eh helps him improve his vision towards life and with her guidance and wisdom, Tayo rediscovers himself and realizes that witchery may indeed be overcome.
As Tayo learns to accept his place and importance in the world, he also realizes what is not important in the world. He already understands that Ts’eh loves and accepts him. This automatic and unwavering acceptance has been unfamiliar to Tayo. He has felt the dissapointment of Auntie his whole life, and even with his steps towards recovery, Auntie has been waiting for Tayo to return to his former state of disrepair, skeptical of his ability to find a way out of his depression and confusion as well as skeptical of the Indian cures his grandmother believes in and pushes Tayo to explore.
This is where Tayo realizes that his nearly lifelong worry regarding aunties disapproval of him and nearly everything around her is of no importance in this world. Tayo finally sees that it just does not matter, to himself, to Ts’eh, nor to the world. Ts’eh offers Tayo the loves and acceptance that does not depend upon his background. She only cares about Tayo and what is inside him. Tayo finds his way back to the old ways, some of which he practiced and respected before the war.
She helps him find the old Tayo, but does not revert to what he was before; instead, he becomes renewed, merging the old appreciation with a new understanding, finding Tayo that sees the whole world around him. One who is capabale of facing whatever may occur in this world. He now sees the witchery for exactly what it is. Instead he focuses on love that has no boundaries of time or space and his love for Josiah and Rocky is never-ending, as well as the unconditional love of the Ts’eh. Tayo’s search for his uncle Josiah’s cattle is an integral part of his reformation.
It requires him to accept help from others and leads to the discovery within himself beliefs rooted in his childhood, beliefs that go beyond questioning and doubting the stories and ways of his people. When he is troubled by the concept of a white man stealing the cattle, he realizes how easily he has grown up accepting the idea that whites never steal and only those with colored skin do. The implantation of this lie may potentially destroy an entire culture from the inside out, eating away trust and loyalty until nothing remains.
By realizing the truth, Tayo is able to relinquish his self doubt and focus on the importance of his search and the ceremony, taking a beginning step to the realization that witchery must be opposed with knowledge and hope instead of hatred and violence. While searching for the cattle he finds himself close to the land, a firsthand observer of the attempts of the evil of the world to contain the land and give it an owner. He realizes that the land, regardless of fences, cannot be contained. The land surpasses any boundaries including man and those of time and space. This opens his mind to what has been and who has been truly damaged.
He also realizes a new confidence that guides him to retrieving the missing cattle. By retrieving the cattle Tayo is able to defeat one aspect of the witchery. With this reassurance that witchery can be defeated, it becomes clear that witchery can be defeated entirely. In the beginning of the story Tayo found himself torn between the old, rituatlistic ways of his people and the modern accepted, and expected ways of the white world he found himself thrown into. The one person who most strongly brings out these feelings of conflict is Emo. Emo shows a love for all things evil and corrupted that the white world represents to Tayo.
Emo brags about killing, carousing with white women, and greed for the material possesions of the white world. While Tayo is uncertain of many things about his life and himself, he knows he loathes Emo’s desires and his actions. Tayo does not know who he is earlier in the novel but he knows who he is not. Tayo is not and never will be a man like Emo. These situations were all crucial in Tayo’s understanding and recreation of himself. Through this knowledge and ceremony Tayo has found a new meaning in life and has removed all witchery. By the end of the story Tayo does not only find hope for himself but he finds hope for his whole tribe.