Written in 1967 and also published 2 years later on in the new Mexico Quarterly, “The guy to Send Rain Clouds” developed Silko as a brilliant new Native American writer. The story brought her broad recognition and a approve from the nationwide Endowment because that the Humanities.

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The story is based upon an incident Silko had actually heard about in she hometown that Laguna, new Mexico: an old man had been discovered dead in a sheep camp and had been provided a timeless Indian burial. The local Catholic priest resented the fact that he had actually not been dubbed in to officiate in ~ the service. Silko’s story explores the Indians’ blending of Catholic rituals with timeless Indian rituals during a funeral ceremony. The stress of maintaining traditional Pueblo practices and the co-opting of external influences—in this case, the Catholic church—is a recurring attention of Silko’s and also appears in number of of her stories.

As a story about Native Americans, “The man to Send Rain Clouds” explains the quality of modern Laguna Pueblo life. The story is admired because that Silko’s masterful portrayal that the Indians’ quiet accept of death and for that highly controlled narrative.

Author Biography

Silko is just one of the significant authors to arise from the aboriginal American literary renaissance that the 1970s. Born in 1948 in Albuquerque, brand-new Mexico, she prospered up on the surrounding Laguna Pueblo Reservation, whereby she was raised within a family members of mixed Indian, Mexican, and white descent. Life top top the reservation to be a day-to-day balancing action of Pueblo and also Christian ways. Storytelling, or story-sharing, was crucial part of Pueblo culture, and Silko thrived up hearne to story of the Indians’ struggles and also their survival together a people. The stories lived on in she memory, and also in later years she drew heavily upon her heritage in she writings.

She specialty in English at the university of new Mexico because, together she placed it,’ i loved come read and write about what I’d read.” Silko i graduated magna cum laude in 1969, the very same year she published “The male to Send Rain Clouds.” This quick story would launch she career as a writer. She attended regulation school because that a quick time, but, disillusioned v the legal system, she left college after 3 semesters, having decided to look for justice for her people through the strength of she imagination and also stories. Since that time she has established herself as vital chronicler the American Indian life, despite she hesitates to call herself a representative of the Pueblo, together she is yet “one human being being and also one Laguna woman.”

Silko’s other works encompass the verse repertoire Laguna mrs (1974), the novels ceremony (1977), Storyteller (1981), and also Almanac that the Dead (1991), the autobiography sacred Water (1993), and the essay collection Yellow Woman and a beauty, beauty of the heart (1996). Also, in 1985 her letters to and from James bright were published as The Delicacy and also Strength that Lace. She has also written film scripts and given many interviews which administer insights into her works.

Silko has actually garnered much vital acclaim and also numerous awards and grants for she fiction and also poetry, including a exploration grant because that her quick story “The man to Send Rain Clouds” in 1969, a provide from the national Endowment for the Arts and a poetry compensation from Chicago review in 1974, and the Pushcart Prize for poetry in 1977. In 1981 she was awarded a john D. And Catherine T. MacArthur foundation grant.

Plot Summary

“The man to Send Rain Clouds” is collection on one Indian reservation in the American Southwest, v its broad mesas (plateaus) and arroyos (ravines). As the story opens, Leon and also his brother-in-law, Ken, discover an old man, Teofilo, dead under a cottonwood tree. They ritually repaint his face and take his body, sheathe in a red blanket, to their home for a timeless Pueblo funeral ceremony. (The Pueblo world paint the deals with of the dead so that they will certainly be recognized in the next world. They likewise scatter corn and also sprinkle water to carry out food and water for the soul on its journey to the various other world. Come the Pueblo, death is not the finish of existence, but component of a cycle in i beg your pardon the soul of the deceased returns to its resource and climate helps the neighborhood of the living by returning through rain clouds because that the nourishment the the earth.)

On their method home, Leon and also Ken encounter dad Paul, a young Catholic priest that expresses his sorrow that the old male had died alone. Teofilo’s funeral is perform in the classic Native American way until Leon’s wife suggests to her husband the he need to ask the monk to sprinkle holy water on the grave. In ~ first, dad Paul refuses to use the holy water as part of one Indian funeral ceremony. After reconsideration the priest, still confused about his role the ceremony, changes his mind and sprinkles the grave v the divine water:

The priest approached the grave slowly. . . . He looked at the red blanket, not certain that Teofilo was so small, wondering if it wasn’t some perverse Indian trick—something they go in March come ensure a great harvest—wondering if maybe old Teofilo was actually at the lamb camp corralling the lamb for the night. Yet there that was, dealing with into a cold dry wind and also squinting in ~ the critical sunlight, ready to ask a red wool ceiling while the encounters of his parishioners were in shadow through the critical warmth the the sun on your backs.

His fingers to be stiff, and it take it him a lengthy time to twist the lid off the holy water. Fall of water fell on the red blanket and soaked into dark icy spots. (Excerpt from “The man to Send Rain Clouds”)

Here the story ends, for currently Leon is “happy around the sprinkling the the holy water; currently the old man might send them large thunderclouds for sure.”



See Teofilo


Ken is the brother-in-law of Leon and a minor character in the story. Prefer old Teofilo and Leon, he additionally believes in complying with Indian ways, and he help his brother-in-law any means he can.


Leon is Teofilo’s grandson. He manages to combine American Indian ways and also Christian ways; he is a Christian who still respects his root and social heritage. The smiles as he paints his dead grandfather’s confront according come the indigenous American custom and also believes the the old man’s soul will carry rain. The is a guy of few words and also has a calm, strong sense of dignity. After ~ finding Teofilo’s body, Leon does not talk around it. In ~ home, Leon notifies his household of Teofilo’s death with couple of words. The truth that the is maybe to sway the monk to sprinkle divine water in ~ the grave site with a couple of well-chosen words—without argument—reveal his character.


Louise is Leon’s wife. Efficient and capable, she plan Teofilo’s funeral and suggests come Leon the it would certainly be ideal to use divine water to symbolically quench the thirst of the old man. Return her part is minor, that is her ide that cause the culture clash in the story.

Father Paul

Father Paul is a young Catholic monk struggling to lead a parish on one Indian reservation. He has actually affection and respect for his parishioners, as viewed in his issue for old Teofilo. He likewise understands the the soul of the law is much more important than the letter that the law. Although that is troubled by the persistence of Indian customs in his parish, that learns to it is adapted to them. Once Leon asks him to use holy water in ~ Teofilo’s funeral service, he at very first refuses, yet he later sprinkles the water on the grave.


Teofilo is “the male to send rain clouds,” the old guy who is uncovered dead under the big cottonwood tree. Teofilo is possibly the most essential character in the story, because the plot involves the problem that arises after his death between American Indian ways and Christian ways. A indigenous American living on a preventive in brand-new Mexico, he to be fiercely independent. He adhered to both the brand-new and old ways: that wore mainstream American clothing, but likewise wore his white hair long in the

traditional Indian manner and also still thought in the old ways. He made new moccasins for the ceremonial dances in the summer and was no keen on going to church. Teofilo to be old and well respected, as confirmed by the affection presented him by Leon and also his family.



In her short story “The man to Send Rain Clouds,” Silko perceives creative thinking as a source of toughness for indigenous Americans, a theme that recurs in her later on works. In particular, Leon’s stamin lies in his ability to creatively incorporate Indian rituals with Catholic rituals. That does no strictly monitor the Indian ways, however adds a brand-new element by asking the Catholic priest to sprinkle divine water ~ above Teofilo’s grave. Transparent the story, Silko emphasizes that the strength of Pueblo traditions lies in their capability to combine alien facets into their own way of life.

Custom and also Tradition

Silko’s story is came to with the strength of the customs and traditions that the indigenous Americans,

Media Adaptations

Although “The man to Send Rain Clouds” has not been adjusted to a multimedia version, the videotape to run on the edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and also Poems (1979) supplies readings from Silko’s works and also the author’s commentary on Pueblo culture in Laguna, brand-new Mexico.

and exactly how to settle a conflict between Native American customs and Christian customs. Leon asks the Catholic priest to participate in the community’s Indian rites. Father Paul refuses at first, but later decides come sprinkle holy water on the grave, honoring the native American belief that the soul must have plenty the water in its journey to the various other world. The story reveals how clashes over differences in customs and also tradition can be avoided v a mix of customs.


Related to the template of custom and also tradition in “The male to Send Rain Clouds” is the template of death, which is presented from a native American perspective. Death is not an end, but component of a bicycle wherein the spirit departs come return with time with rainstorms. Together he finishes paint the dead challenge of Teofilo, Leon is not sad; rather he smiles and offers the conventional Pueblo prayer asking the dead guy to send rain clouds.

Individual versus Community

Another template in “The man to Send Rain Clouds” is the battle of the individual versus community. Together the priest of a indigenous American parish, father Paul must oversee the Catholics in his region. However after the old man dies, Leon does not inform the priest, though the remainder of his parishioners have actually been informed. Father Paul is the last human being to join his parishioners in the graveyard, and also as the empties ajar of divine water on Teofilo’s grave he, in a tiny way, join the native American community.

Appearances and also Reality

“The male to Send Rain Clouds” addresses the design template of appearances versus truth through the character of father Paul. In ~ one suggest excited and full the plans because that his aboriginal American parish, father Paul finds the fact of working in one Indian parish really different native what he had expected. As soon as Leon asks the monk to participate in the funeral ceremony, father Paul looks v tired, unseeing eyes at the “glossy missionary magazine. . . Complete of lepers and also pagans” and refuses, yet after a moment’s reflection the decides come go with Leon.

Culture Clash

In “The guy to Send Rain Clouds,” Leon and Father Paul belonging to various cultures, and also there is the minute of confrontation when, in ~ Teofilo’s burial service, dad Paul asks, “Why no you tell me that was dead? I could have lugged the critical Rites anyway.” Leon replies, “It no necessary, Father.” The problem is resolved with father Paul agreeing to participate in one Indian ritual. Although that is no strictly a Christian burial, the dead guy receives the blessings of both traditional and also Christian cultures.


Point of View

The story is told with an objective, thirdperson narrative, and also unfolds in a rigidly target tone. There is no hints of the narrator’s an individual voice together each character is presented. With the exception of the graveyard scene that concludes the story, the narrator go not define the character’s thoughts, but presents just the activity of the story.


The story is collection on the Laguna Indian reservation in new Mexico. The see of the story v its arroyos and also mesas is one integral part of the story. Silko captures the landscape really effectively in her narrative. For instance, “The huge cottonwood tree stood apart from a little grove that winterbare cottonweeds which thrived in the wide, sandy arroyo. . . . Leon waited under the tree if Ken drove the truck with the deep sand come the leaf of the arroyo. . . . Yet high and northwest the blue hills were tho in snow. . . . It was obtaining colder, and the wind propelled gray dust down the narrow pueblo road. The sun was draw close the lengthy mesa whereby it disappeared during the winter.”


The title “The male to Send Rain Clouds” alludes to the Pueblo id that the dead are linked with rain clouds. The narrator provides several referrals to the Indian interment ceremony and also the history of the Pueblo people. The story’s location is taken indigenous a traditional prayer in i m sorry the ind pray because that the heart of the deceased come send rain clouds so plants will grow and the neighborhood will no starve. To the Pueblo, death is no the end of existence, but component of a bicycle in i m sorry the human being spirit return to its resource and climate helps the community by returning through rain clouds. The Pueblo paint the confront of the deceased so that he will certainly be recognized in the following world. They likewise scatter corn and sprinkle water to carry out food and water for the heart on its journey to the various other world. The referral to the Catholic church’s “twin bells from the King that Spain” is necessary as it points to the background of the Pueblo’s early stage encounter with Christianity. In 1598, when the Pueblo swore allegiance come the king that Spain, Catholic missionaries come to transform Native americans to Catholicism. Return Christianity was required on them, the Indians ongoing to observe your traditional religious practices.


In this story, Silko offers humor as a doubleedged tool. The encounter in between the young priest, that is denied the chance to execute Catholic rites, and Leon, who insists that such rites room not necessary, is humorous. The exchange likewise provokes an awareness that intercultural conflict. One illustration the this is the complying with passage: “The priest approached the tomb slowly. . . . The looked in ~ the red blanket, not certain that Teofilo to be so small, wondering if that wasn’t part perverse Indian trick— other they walk in March to ensure a an excellent harvest—wondering if possibly old Teofilo was actually at the sheep camp corralling the sheep for the night. Yet there the was, encountering into a cold dry wind and also squinting in ~ the critical sunlight, prepared to ask a red wool blanket while the faces of his parishioners were in shadow through the critical warmth that the sunlight on their backs.”


Irony is a literary device used come convey meaning to a expression quite various than—in fact, often

Topics for additional Study

Research the historical experiences of aboriginal Americans by reading the introduction to Geary Hobson’s anthology The Remembered earth or sections of major Problems in American Indian History, edited by Albert Hurtacto and also Peter Iverson. Called what you have learned come Leon’s story.Study “The male to Send Rain Clouds” in ~ a bigger context, particularly the spread out of Christianity among other nations and cultures. Because that example, to compare Father Paul’s suffer on the Pueblo reservation through the missionary’s experience in India in Robin White’s novel home of many Rooms.Was Silko successful in developing the see of brand-new Mexico in “The guy to Send Rain Clouds?” discuss the prestige of the story’s geography location and also physical features and also relate these functions to the main themes the the story.

the straight opposite of—the literal meaning one. Irony can be linguistic or situational. Silko displayed a skillful usage of irony in the story, notably in she depiction that the young priest, an authority number who wants the ind to monitor Catholic means but, in the end, self uses divine water as component of a timeless Indian ceremony, participating in a non-Christian ceremony.


Skillful usage of adjectives and attention to information are the hallmarks the Silko’s descriptions. For instance, in “The man to Send Rain Clouds” she uses such expressions as “wide, sandy arroyo,” “low, crumbling wall,” “brown, wrinkled forehead” and also “He squinted up at the sun and also unzipped his jacket” to enhance the beauty, beauty of she narrative.


Silko employs an exciting mixture that narration and dialogue. The dialogues between Leon and Father Paul, and between Leon and Louise, present the personalities to the reader directly. Readers are able to attract their very own conclusions regarding the characters’ particular natures and motivations.

Historical Context

Silko wrote the story “The male to Send Rain Clouds” in 1967 because that a an imaginative writing class, basing it upon a real-life occurrence in Laguna, brand-new Mexico. In the late 1960s there to be an interest in indigenous cultures in America. Plenty of Indians moved off the reservations and also into mainstream American culture, becoming more visible together a result. Peter Farb’s Man’s rise to civilization (1968) generated interest in native Americans, when Scott Momaday, a aboriginal American, won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for fiction through his novel house Made of Dawn. Silko asserts, “It to be a type of renaissance, ns suppose. . . . That is an overwhelming to decide why but, perhaps, in the 1960s, around the time once Momaday’s books got published, there was this brand-new interest, perhaps it was no new, but people became much more aware of aboriginal cultures. It to be an opened up worldwide.” aboriginal Americans were unexpectedly publishing books and Silko was one of the very first published Pueblo ladies writers.

The story shows life top top the Laguna Indian preventive in the 1960s. For much more than 12,000 year the Pueblo had actually lived in the region and traditional spiritual beliefs permeated every element of life. Even when Christianity to be introduced, that was incorporated into older Pueblo rites. Scholar A. LaVonne Ruoff maintains: “Silko emphasizes that these Pueblo Indians have not abandoned your old ways for Catholicism; instead, they have actually taken one component of Catholic ritual compatible through their beliefs and also made it an important part of their ceremony.” The significance of the story lies in the “instance of social clash v the feelings and ideas involved.”

The rituals in the story underscore the Pueblo principle of death. Follow to every Seyersted, for the Indians, “man is a minute part of an immense herbal cycle, and his fatality has nothing threatening in that because, after ~ a life which consisted of both the great and the poor he goes ago to wherein he came from, and also in line with the communal thinking, that is hoped the his spirit will aid the group he pipeline behind by returning with the rain clouds.”

Critical Overview

Michael Loudon maintains the “The man to Send Rain Clouds” “testifies to the essential role of storytelling in Pueblo identity, providing the people access to the mythic and also historic past and also relating a continuing wisdom.” In Silko’s novel Ceremony, one character notes, “At one time, the ceremonies together they had actually been carry out were sufficient for the means the people was then. However after the white civilization came, elements in this world started to shift; and it ended up being necessary come create brand-new ceremonies. I have actually made alters in the rituals. The world mistrust this greatly, yet only this growth keeps the ceremonies strong. . . .” A. LaVonne Ruoff look at this template as central to “The guy to Send Rain Clouds.” per Seyersted see the story as an instance of Silko’s capacity to consciousness life native a double perspective: together a Pueblo and also as a mixed-blood human who have the right to perceive Laguna native the outside. Some critics believe that this story may end up being one that the standards of American literature.


Angelina Paul

Paul is a doctoral candidate in English literary works at the university of Hyderabad and also currently is a Fulbright Visiting Researcher in southern Asia regional Studies in ~ the college of Pennsylvania. She has actually published literary criticism American literature Today and the Indian newspaper of American Studies. In the complying with essay, she provides a general introduction to “The male to Send Rain Clouds,” including review of the story’s agree by critics.

Her occupational widely anthologized, Leslie Marmon Silko is considered the preeminent native American mrs novelist, a legend in her accomplishments in the ar of native American literature. Her works are had in the syllabus of assorted American literature courses in high schools and also colleges. Increased on the Indian preventive in Laguna, new Mexico, she incorporates right into her creating the stories, myths, and legends she heard as she prospered up. Of Pueblo, Mexican, and also white descent, she was both an insider and also outsider in Laguna, and this makes her an amazing chronicler that stories about modern-day

Compare & Contrast

Affirmative action for numerous minority groups has been overturned in some components of the country. Other regulation is under attack and also congress refuses to pass a commonwealth hate crimes statute.1960s: native American voices emerge to call the native American experience. Authors such together Leslie Marmon Silko are released to critical and commercial acclaim and also become an important part the the American literature scene.1990s: native American writers continue to market insightful perspectives on American life. In numerous universities, the examine of aboriginal American literary works and culture is an important part of the curriculum.

life top top the reservation. In an interview she has actually stated: “Oral literatures that the native populations an international contain (these) kind of an important insights. . . . You can look in ~ the old stories that were told amongst the tribal world here in a north country and see that within castle is the very same kind of valuable lessons around human behavior and that we need them still.” In the Pueblo community, all education is achieved in a verbal, rigid form, and when Silko started writing at the university of Mexico, story came normally to her. She has actually said, “ professor would certainly say, now you create your city or write a story; create the method you know, they constantly tell us. All ns knew to be my growing up at Laguna, recalling some various other stories that I had actually been told as a child.”

It was at the college of new Mexico that she composed her very first story, “The guy to Send Rain Clouds,” i m sorry won she a discovery grant native the nationwide Endowment for the Humanities. The story is based upon an incident she had actually heard of in Laguna, that an old man had been uncovered dead in a sheep camp and had been offered a timeless Indian burial, and that the regional Catholic priest had resented the truth that he had not been called in. Having actually based her very first work of short fiction top top this incident, “The guy to Send Rain Clouds” lugged Silko recognition and also established her as a promising aboriginal American author.

Silko claims that Pueblo narratives are lean and also spare because so lot of what constitute the story is common knowledge. Back the larger audience for “The man to Send Rain Clouds” has actually no shared knowledge of the landscape or rituals, Silko still choose to use the skinny narrative mode, as the themes room universal and also can be interpreted by any type of audience. However an knowledge of the Pueblo funeral customs offers an added dimension to an understanding of the story. In Pueblo culture, the is believed that overlook of tribal rituals can result in death and also sickness, since the ghost returns there is no blessings, having actually been unable to go into the other world. To stop this dissatisfied prospect, a prayer feather is attached come the hair the the deceased, and also his challenge is painted so the the he will be recognized in the following world. These work are ordinarily carry out by the village Shaman (religious priest), while corn meal is offered to the wind and also water is sprinkled ~ above the dig so the the spirit has nourishment top top its journey to the various other world. The awareness concludes with the prayer, “Send united state rain clouds.” Familiarization v the landscape inhabited by the Pueblo Indians additional enhances the reader’s understanding of “The man to Send Rain Clouds,” for as

Silko has written elsewhere, the landscape sit in the facility of Pueblo belief and also identity.

A personality in Silko’s later on novel, Ceremony, says, “At one time, the ceremonies as they had been performed were enough for the means the human being was then. However after the white civilization came, facets in this world began to shift; and also it came to be necessary come create new ceremonies. I have actually made alters in the rituals. The human being mistrust this greatly, but only this development keeps the ceremonies strong. . . .” Scholar A. LaVonne Ruoff look at this layout as main to “The male to Send Rain Clouds.” Leon’s strength lies in his creative mix of timeless Indian rituals with Catholic ritual. That does no strictly monitor the Indian ways but adds a brand-new element by asking the Catholic monk to sprinkle divine water at Teofilo’s interment service, in ~ his wife Louise’s suggestion. V this story, Silko emphasizes that the proceeding strength that Pueblo heritages lies in the capacity of the world to incorporate alien elements for their very own purposes. Leon continues to follow the Pueblo rites and also persuades the dad Paul to get involved in them, together well. Every Seyersted sees the story as an example of Silko’s double vision as

What execute I review Next?

Storyteller (1981) is a repertoire of Silko’s short stories, anecdotes, historical and also autobiographical notes, poems, and folk tales.Yellow Woman and also the beauty of the Spirit: Essays on aboriginal American Life this particular day (1996) is a collection of Silko’s essays.The Pueblo Indians, Joe S. Sando’s 1976 publication on the history of the Pueblo, boosts the reader’s knowledge of the Pueblo community.House of many Rooms, Robin White’s 1958 novel, chronicles the story of one American missionary in India. Over there Christians still monitor Hindu customs, to the bewilderment the the missionary—who ultimately accepts their choices. This work provides an amazing thematic parallel come “The male to Send Rain Clouds.”

both a Pueblo and as a mixed-blood human being who has the ability and liberty to watch Laguna indigenous the outside. Linda Danielson look at the feeling of community in the story as main to understanding it, and views it in regards to Father Paul’s entry into the community through the flexibility and also power that Indian ritual, i m sorry assures the keep going of life.

In addition to this themes, the story additionally treats an indigenous community’s encounters v Christianity. Ns use words “indigenous” in the feeling that Silko defines it in one interview. She says, “When ns say indigenous people I mean people that are linked to the soil for, stop say, a thousands or two thousands years.” She further adds that one deserve to see similarities in some of the struggles of native peoples in Africa, in the Americas, and also in Asia. This is exemplified in the component of the story in which father Paul is shown as bewildered by the organization of Catholic routine in an Indian ceremony. Back the preventive Indians space Catholic, they maintain pagan rituals and also customs. In author Robin White’s functions one addresses a similar theme in her works around the American missionary experience in India. In White’s novel residence of numerous Rooms, a missionary is at an initial bewildered through his reception by Christianized natives who use Hindu rituals. He refuses to accept the indigenous Christian priest’s hospitality, as his own Western concept of Christianity is offended. Later on he ends up gift a great friend of the indigenous priest and becomes part of the Christian ar in India. More parallels can be drawn in between the background of Christianity in other indigenous cultures, in other literary and also historical works.

The design template of death and time is also main to “The guy to Send Rain Clouds.” death is not an end or a dreadful experience, but a truth of life to the Pueblo. The soul returns come its resource and returns bringing rain clouds to the community, staving turn off drought. A LaVonne Ruoff has written the the dead “are linked with cloud beings (storm clouds or Shiwana in Keres) who lug rain and also who live in the six or four regions the the universe.” death is also, that course, associated with the id of time. Silko has actually said that, for the Indian people, time is round, and not a linear string. Time in that historical dimension is unimportant as it is an endlessly repeating cycle in which man is however a minute part of the cycle. Since of these notions of time and also death, Leon deserve to accept old Teofilo’s fatality in a calm, tranquil manner v the timeless prayer asking his soul to send rain cloud. This is contrasted in the story with classic Catholic thinking, i beg your pardon in Seyersted’s words, “looks in ~ (death) as one sinful mortal’s final, crucial meeting v his Maker, in which that is hoped the the blessing symbolized through the divine water will help.”: Hence, because that Father Paul, the sprinkling of divine water has a much

“The template of death and time is also main to ‘The guy to Send Rain Clouds,’”

different definition than Leon’s belief that that will just quench the spirit’s thirst on its means to the various other world.

Apart native its thematic concerns and also its social context, Silko’s short story was standing out together a technically masterful story. Skillful usage of adjectives and attention to detail are the hallmarks the Silko’s descriptions. Because that instance, she to write of a “wide, sandy arroyo,” “low, crumbling wall,” a “brown, wrinkled forehead” to improve the beauty beauty of the narrative. The sent mixture the narration and also dialogue likewise maintains the reader’s interest. The dialogues in between Leon and Father Paul, and between Leon and Louise, present the characters to the reader directly, thus allowing readers to draw their own conclusions regarding the personalities respective natures and motivations.

With this said, and because of the high achievement of the story itself, “The male to Send Rain Clouds,” a rigid of Pueblo life, deserves come be well-known as a classic Native American brief story in ~ the canon of American literature.

Source: Angelina Paul, “Overview of ‘The guy to Send Rain Clouds,’” for quick Stories for Students, The Gale Group, 2000.

Linda L. Danielson

Danielson teaches English in ~ Lane neighborhood College in Eugene, Oregon. In the adhering to excerpt, she supplies a feminist translate of Silko’s “The man to Send Rain Clouds.”

Over the last twenty years, the general breakthrough of scholarship about women’s lives and art parallels an unmatched flowering of an imaginative writing by American Indian women. Yet in see of these parallel developments, American Indian women have shown little interest in the feminist movement, and also conversely mainstream feminist scholarship has paid strikingly tiny attention come the writing of American Indian women.

Leslie Silko’s Storyteller (1981), a product of this literature florescence, has actually remained practically undiscussed as a totality by critics of any type of stamp. With its focus on women tradition bearers, mrs deities, and its mrs author’s an individual perspective, Storyteller appears to ask because that a feminist critical treatment. . . .

Particularly applicable come Silko’s Storyteller room feminist an essential strategies come reclaim together legitimate literature subjects, women’s experience and also female mythic power. Sandra M. Gilbert watch this strategy as a matter of re-vision, seeing anew: “When i say we have to redo our history, therefore, I median we need to review, reimagine, rethink, rewrite, revise, and reinterpret the events and documents that constitute it.” .

Silko’s Storyteller represents just such a review of the world from she vantage point as a Laguna Indian woman. In fact, expertise her re-vision and reinterpretation of an individual and tribal memory leads us past the basic impulse to call Storyteller a collage, a family members album, or pastiche, on into a conception that its unity and significance together a literary work. In seeing anew, Silko expresses a deeply combined view that the world, reclaiming as central to she craft the tribe, the definition of plain women’s and men’s lives, and also the set of values arising from the female power of the primary Keresan deities. . . .

Silko presents a highly an individual view of tribal ways and also at the same time a lack slant on her an individual memories, richly fed through the foremothers and forefathers who words accumulate Storyteller. Through the publication she reclaims both personal and defect traditions about men and women, animals and holy people, community and creativity. . . .

“The man to Send Rain Clouds” returns to themes of creativity and also community. In accordance through Keres tradition, Old Teofilo, also in death, is tho a valued member that the community, for the civilization are looking to him to send them huge thunderclouds. There is seriousness and ceremony, yet no sorrow at his death. The is no lost, simply redefined in ~ the neighborhood as a Kat’sina spirit associated with the cloud us who bring rain.

Ruoff observes that the strength of Indian tradition for Silko is not in rigid follow to old ways, yet in an imaginative incorporation of brand-new elements . In “The male to Send Rainclouds,” modern-day Indian world not just create new ritual, yet offer neighborhood to an outsider. The gift the water for the old male spirit originates from the Catholic priest whom Leon cause to take part in the funeral, top top Indian terms. However the priest remains an outsider, suspiciously of “some perverse Indian trick—something they walk in March to insure a great harvest”. Nonetheless, his activity brings him to the sheet of the community: “He sprinkled the grave and also the water disappeared practically before it touch the dim, cold sand; that reminded that of something—he tried to remember what the was, since he thought if he might remember he might understand this.” The adaptability that can find needed ritual power and also extend the hand of community to the outsider assures the keep going of life, favor water and thunderclouds.

Source: Linda L. Danielson, “Storyteller: granny Spider’s Web,” in newspaper of the Southwest, Vol. 30, No. 3, Autumn, 1988, pp. 325-55.

Per Seyersted

In the complying with excerpt, Seyersted provides a thematic summary of Silko’s “The man to Send Rain Clouds.”

In a sense began to write in the fifth grade: “A teacher gave us a perform of indigenous to do sentences the end of, and also I just made it right into a story automatically” (interview in Dexter Fisher, ed., The third Woman . . .). Yet it was just at college in 1967 as soon as she was forced to write a story in a an innovative writing course and found again that what was challenging for rather came naturally to her, that she establish she was a writer. Earlier at Laguna she had just heard in headline form that an old man had been found dead at a lamb camp and also had been provided a timeless burial and that the priest had actually resented the fact that he was not called in. Unable to think of something else, she made decision to write about this incident and also to try to imagine the scene and also how the world had felt. The result was “The male to Send Rain Clouds,” i beg your pardon was conveniently published in New

“‘The man to Send Rain Clouds’ returns to themes of creativity and also community. In accordance with Keres tradition, Old Teofilo, also in death, is quiet a valued member of the community, because that the people are looking come him come send them large thunderclouds.”

Mexico Quarterly and additionally earned for her a “Discovery Grant.”

In Rosen’s 1974 anthology, Silko wrote around herself: “I to be of mixed-breed ancestry, but what I understand is Laguna. This location I to be from is whatever I am as a writer and human being.” and she has likewise said (in Laguna Woman):’ I expect at the core of my writing is the attempt to determine what it is to be a half-breed or combined blooded person; what it is to prosper up no white nor fully traditional Indian.” that is as if she is saying the she is completely a Laguna Pueblo and also will write about the ar where she thrived up, however that in ~ the same time she is a mixed-blood and therefore has actually been provided the capability and the flexibility to check out Laguna additionally from the outside. Her an initial story illustration this double vision.

When Ken and also Leon in their pickup come trying to find old Teofilo, they currently have through them what is necessary to do the preliminaries for a classic burial, together as painting his face. Once they have actually completed these tasks, Leon smiles and also says, “Send united state rain clouds, Grandfather.” return to the pueblo with the body under a tarpaulin, they satisfy Father Paul, that is led to think that Teofilo is alive and also well at camp. Later on at home, the funeral is performed with clanspeople and also old males with medicine bags attending. While the others go to the graveyard, Leon action upon Louise’s pointer that he ask the monk to sprinkle “holy water for Grandpa. For this reason he won’t be thirsty.” dad Paul protests the a Christian funeral would call for the

“What we have actually in the story room two different concepts of death, or rather, the our totality existence.”

Last Rites and also a Mass, yet in the finish he reluctantly comes along, and also when the besprinkled human body is lowered, Leon is happy: “now the old man could send them big thunderclouds because that sure.”

Silko’s attention in this story does not lie in the explanation of the rituals themselves. She has said the while she has looked at anthropologists’ reports on Laguna, she does not consult them. Because that one thing, she doubts that the informants (among whom were few of her very own ancestors) constantly gave the scholars the true story, and an ext important, your reports room dead come her contrasted to the living reality of what she has heard and seen and also felt herself. Also, she is one artist who desires to apply her imagination to the telling of tales, and also to her, the essence of this particular incident is the story of this instance of social clash through the feelings and also ideas involved.

To be sure, she go want us to see that these are Laguna rituals and attitudes. Because that example, she gives us such neighborhood details as that Leon ties a gray feather in Teofilo’s hair and that he paints the old man’s challenge with stripes of certain colors. But she does not tell united state what the medicine men carry out at the crucial event of the funeral in Teofilo’s home. Therefore we have to guess that few of the things they all do, such together Leon’s application of paints, may be part of the job of making “him so that he might be recognized” in Shibapu, and that others, such as Louise’s sprinkling the corn meal and her problem that she Grandpa shall not be thirsty, room intended to make sure that he has actually “water . . . And also food because that his travel provisions” (Boas, Keresan Texts, 1928; rpt. New York: AMS Press, 1974 . . .).

What we have actually in the story room two different concepts of death, or rather, that our totality existence. The Indian, as Vine Deloria has actually reminded us, is wedded to place rather 보다 time and also to group rather 보다 individual. On the one hand, together Ortiz has actually written, “Indian heritages exist in, and also are mostly to be taken in relationship to, space; lock belong to the place where the world exist or originated,” their presence being likened metaphorically to the of a plant. And also he adds: “time in the linear, historical dimension . . . Is unimportant” compared to “cyclical, rhythmic time, time perceived as a series of infinite repeating cycles, ~ above the version of the periods or, again, plants” (Indian Historian, Winter 1977 . . .). And also on the other hand, as already suggested, pueblo cultures see the survive of the team as much more important 보다 the visibility of the individual. The is, male is a minute part of one immense herbal cycle, and also his fatality has nothing threaten in that because, after a life which included both the good and the poor that every Pueblos lugged with them native Shibapu, he just goes ago to whereby he came from, and in line v the communal thinking, it is hoped that his spirit will aid the group he leaves behind by returning through rain clouds. This is of course wholly alien to Catholic thinking, which sees death in terms of the individual fairly than the group and also which looks at it together one sinful mortal’s final, critical meeting through his Maker, in which the is hoped that the blessing symbolized by the divine water will certainly help.

It is part of the mastery the this quick story that Silko only lightly argues all this in her spare, highly controlled narrative, in i beg your pardon she fixed enters right into the protagonists’ minds. Furthermore, as an target writer, she does not take sides, however gives a balanced, perceptible presentation that the characters. In her depiction the the Pueblos she makes us feeling what David B. Espey has actually termed “the mood of peace and simplicity, the quiet assurance through which reaction to death,” agree from Catholicism just what they deserve to use; and also in she sympathetic picture of the monk we feeling both his great will and also his bewilderment. In the one riddle she leaves us with—Father Paul is reminded that something, however does not recognize what, when the water instantly disappears into the sand—she appears to suggest that that is ~ above the verge of knowledge the impossibility that Christianizing this proud, independent, “foreign” human being who look come Mt. Taylor, looming increase behind the graveyard, as a divine shrine and also who have decorated most of the wall surfaces of the church in i m sorry he works with indicators of thunder, clouds, and rainbows. In the quiet dignity that the informing of this relocating tale, Silko provides it clear the she is an intelligent writer and a born storyteller.

Source: every Seyersted, in Leslie Marmon Silko, Boise State University, 1980, pp. 15-18.

A. LaVonne Ruoff

At the time that this item was published, Ruoff to be affiliated through the university of Illinois/Chicago Circle. In the complying with excerpt, she asserts the the story gives an example of the strength and adaptability of defect traditions.

For Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna), the strength of tribal heritages is based not on Indians’ rigid adherence to provided ceremonies or customs however rather top top their capacity to adapt traditions to ever-changing circumstances by incorporating brand-new elements. Return this theme is most completely developed in her current novel consciousness (1977), it is likewise present in she earlier brief stories, “The man to Send Rain Clouds,” “Tony’s Story,” “from Humaweepi, Warrior Priest,” and also “Yellow Woman,” included in the volume The male to Send Rainclouds: modern-day Stories by American Indians.

The history of Silko’s very own Laguna Pueblo, influenced by many different cultures, gives insight right into why she emphasizes adjust as a source of strength for defect traditions. Follow to their beginning legends, the Laguna people (in existence since at least 1300), came southward from the Mesa Verde region. Some versions suggest that after ~ pausing in ~ Zia, they to be joined by the head the the Parrot clan, who made decision to take it his civilization southward through them. After wandering further, very first southward indigenous the lake at Laguna and then northward earlier to the lake, they settled Punyana, probably in the so late 1300s. After starting Old Laguna (Kawaik) roughly 1400, lock issued invitations to various other pueblos to join them. Those which responded to be the Parrot clan native Zia, the sun clan native Hopi, the road Runner and Badger clans indigenous Zuni, and the sun clan from Jemez. The tribe populated the site of what is now referred to as Laguna through the early on 1500s. Extr immigration occurred during the 1690s, when the Lagunas were joined by ind from the Rio Grande, more than likely fleeing both drought and also the hostility the the Spanish after ~ the Pueblo Rebellion in 1680 and also the put in order uprising in 1696. This immigrants come chiefly from Zia, Cochiti, and Domingo, yet a couple of came indigenous Jemez, Zuni, and Hopi. Return some remained to sign up with the Laguna tribe, others went back to their own pueblos when conditions improved. Over the years, a couple of Navajos intermarried through the tribe, bringing with them the Navajo sun clan and kachina.

“Thus, Silko emphasizes the these Pueblo Indians have not abandoned your old means for Catholicism; instead, they have taken one component of Catholic ritual compatible v their beliefs and also made it crucial part the their very own ceremony. . . .”

The Spanish an initial entered the area in 1540, once Francesco de Coronado led an exploration to Zuni and also two years later on passed v the present site the Laguna ~ above his means back to Mexico. Antonio Espejo, that commanded an expedition to new Mexico in 1582, checked out the area in 1583. In between the meeting of Juan de Onate as brand-new Mexico’s very first governor in 1598 and also the Pueblo Rebellion in 1680, there is tiny historical data ~ above Laguna. Although the pueblo was not based on as many strikes from the Spanish together the Rio Grande pueblos, it was compelled to surrender in 1692 after an assault by the troops of branch Diego de Vargas.

Concerning the mixture of human being who cleared up at Laguna, Parsons comments the “it is no surprising the Laguna to be the very first of the pueblos to Americanize, through intermarriage” . Around 1860 and 1870, George H. Pradt and two Marmon brothers (Walter and Robert) pertained to the pueblo, married Laguna women, and reared large families. Silko shows that her good grandfather Robert and his brother had actually a federal government contract to set out the boundary markers because that Laguna. Walter, appointed federal government teacher in 1871, married the daughter the the chef of the Kurena-Shikani medicine men. The chief’s son later on took his place. According to Parsons, this group led the Americanization faction which was opposed by the pueblo hierarchy. The conservatives eliminated their altars and also sacred objects from Laguna and moved come Mesita; approximately 1880, part of this group resettled in Isleta. When Robert Marmon served as governor, the two kivas of Laguna to be torn down by the progressives and what to be left the the spiritual objects was surrendered. There were no kachina dances for some time after the great Split and also the laying that the rail on the edge of the village. When a demand emerged later for the resurgence of the dances, Zuni impacts were introduced right into Laguna rituals. Parsons close the door her summary of Laguna v the comment that although the ceremonial fragmentation was so significant when she an initial studied that (around 1920) the it presented an obscure snapshot of Keresan culture, it now (1939) available “unrivaled avenues to research American acculturation and the important role played by miscegenation.” Silko herself comments on these changes in her description of the influence of mixed-blood family members on Laguna clan systems and also the varying attitudes toward these households in the stories of that pueblo:

People in the main part of the village were our clanspeople due to the fact that the clan system was still maintained although no in the same kind it would have actually been if we were full blood. . . . The means it readjusted was that there started to it is in stories around my greatgrandfather, optimistic stories around what that did v the Laguna scouts for the Apaches. However then after world War One that changed. Quickly after the there became stories around these mixed blood people, halfbreeds. Not only Marmons however Gunns and Pratts too. An identification was gift made or developed in the story the Lagunas told about these world who had gone exterior Laguna, yet at the same time that the outsiders who had actually come in. Component of that was that the story were always about the wild, roguish, crazy sorts of points they walk .

The proceeding strength the Laguna traditions and also the capability of her civilization to usage alien heritages for their very own purposes are strikingly shown in Silko’s story “The male to Send Rainclouds.” The location alludes to the belief that the dead are connected with cloud us (storm clouds or shiwanna in Keres) who bring rain and who live in the six or 4 regions the the universe (Parsons). The story deals with an Indian family’s observance of Pueblo funeral rituals regardless of the local priest’s attempts to cajole them into observing Catholic ones. Ironically, the young monk is trapped through the Indians right into taking part in their ceremony. The prestige of ritual in Pueblo Indian life is emphasized at the start of the story as soon as Leon and Ken, after finding old Teofilo dead, automatically observe the an initial stages that the funeral rites. Disregard of funeral or death ritual can result in death or sickness due to the fact that the ghost returns (Parsons). Prior to wrapping the body in a blanket, the males tie a gray prayer feather to the old man’s lengthy white hair (a custom similar to that of the Zuni) and begin to repaint his challenge with markings so the he will be known in the following world— work ordinarily perform by a shaman. The face painting is interrupted by an offering of corn meal to the wind and also is concluded through the prayer “send united state rain clouds, Grandfather.”

The pressure on Pueblo ind to practice Catholicism is presented when dad Paul stops Leon and also Ken top top their method home come ask around Teofilo and also to advice them all to pertained to church. Making use of the age-old Indian method of telling the non-Indian just what they desire him to know, Leon and also Ken prize the priest’s questions about the old male welfare ambiguously enough to keep him indigenous learning around Teofilo’s death. Just after the Indian funeral rites are almost completed go the family members feel the require for the priest’s services—to administer plenty of holy water because that the grave so that Teofilo’s soul will send lot of of rainfall. Corn meal has been sprinkled about the old man’s body to carry out food top top the journey to the other world. Silko skillfully and also humorously characterizes the conflict between the irritable priest, that is refuse the opportunity to provide the critical rites and also funeral mass, and also Leon, that doggedly insists the these room not necessary: “It’s O.K. Father, we simply want that to have plenty of water.” despite his weary protests the he cannot do that without performing the suitable Catholic rites, dad Paul lastly gives in once Leon starts come leave. Realizing that he has actually been tricked right into participating in your pagan rites and fifty percent suspecting that the entirety thing may be simply a feather fertility ceremony rather than a real funeral, he nonetheless sprinkles the grave with a totality jar of holy water. Leon feels good about the plot which completes the ceremony and ensures the “now the old man could send them huge thunderclouds for sure.” Thus, Silko emphasizes the these Pueblo Indians have actually not abandoned your old means for Catholicism; instead, they have taken one part of Catholic ritual compatible v their beliefs and made it an essential part of their own ceremony. . . .

In all 4 of this stories, Silko emphasizes the need to return to the rituals and oral heritages of the past in order to rediscover the basis because that one’s cultural identity. Only once this is excellent is one ready to resolve the troubles of the present. However, Silko advocates a return to the significance rather than to the precise kind of this rituals and also traditions, which have to be adapted continually come meet brand-new challenges. Through her very own stories, Silko demonstrates the the Keres rituals and also traditions have actually survived all attempts to eradicate them and also that the seeds for the renewal of their power lie in the memories and creativeness of her people.

Source: A. LaVonne Ruoff, “Ritual and Renewal: Keres heritages in the brief Fiction that Leslie Silko,” in MELUS, Vol. 5, No. 4, Winter, 1978, pp. 2-17.


Danielson, Linda L. “Storyteller: granny Spider’s Web,” in newspaper of the Southwest, Vol. 30, No. 3, Autumn, 1988, pp. 325-55.

Krupet, Arnold. “The Dialogic that Silko’s Storyteller,” in rigid Chance, edited through Gerald Vizenor, university of brand-new Mexico, 1989, pp. 55-68.

Ruoff, A. LaVonne. “Ritual and also Renewal: Keres traditions in the brief Fiction that Leslie Silko,” in MELUS, Vol. 5, No. 4, Winter, 1978, pp. 2-17.

Seyersted, Per. Leslie Marmon Silko, Boise State University, 1980.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony, new York: Viking Press, 1977.

_________. Yellow Woman and also a beauty, beauty of the Spirit, Simon and Schuster, 1996.

http://www.altx.com/interviews/silko.html. An Interview v Leslie Marmon Silko, by thomas Irmer (Alt-X Berlin/Leipzig correspondent).

White, Robin. House of plenty of Rooms, new York: Harper, 1958.

Further Reading

Danielson, Linda L. “Storyteller: grandm Spider’s Web,” in journal of the Southwest, Vol. 30, No. 3, Autumn, 1988, pp. 325-55.

An interpretation of Silko’s “The guy to Send Rainclouds,” particularly with regard to themes that creativity and also community, analyzed native a feminist perspective.

Ruoff, A. LaVonne. “Ritual and also Renewal: Keres traditions in the brief Fiction of Leslie Silko,” in MELUS, Vol. 5, No. 4, Winter, 1978, pp. 2-17.

An evaluation of the legacies at occupational in Silko’s work, saying on pp. 2-5 that the story provides an instance of the strength of tribal legacies through adaptability.

Seyersted, Per. Leslie Marmon Silko, Boise State University, 1980.

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Addresses Silko’s biography, and also provides a brief history of the Pueblo people and also an evaluation of Silko’s works, in specific a research of the design template of society clash in “The guy to Send Rain Clouds” on pp. 15-18.