Ceremony :Novel Summary: Pages 214-end
Summary of pages 214-end
When Robert comes to take the cattle home with Tayo, the medicine woman has vacated her house. Tayo continues to dream of her. He feels he is living with her as he continues the tribal ways at home in Laguna. He works with Robert to take care of the cattle and sheep. In the spring, rain comes. He remembers her love and knows he will find her again. He lets Auntie know he wants to live on the ranch and take care of the cattle. He is finished hanging out with the other Indians.
Old Grandma tells him Ku'oosh wants him to go to the council and tell them something.
Tayo goes north to the ranch, and she is waiting for him. They spend the summer camping together by the stream while she teaches him about herbs and roots. Robert comes to find him because Emo has told the people Tayo is crazy again, staying by himself. Old Ku'oosh does not know why he did not come as asked.
T’seh speaks to him of the white people and evil as she is leaving after the summer. Tayo asks her if the evil can be stopped, and she says, “It all depends on how far you are willing to go” (p. 230). She shows him he is in danger. They will try to say he is mad and take him to the hospital. Now Tayo goes back to Laguna to finish the story.
He waves down Harley and Leroy in their truck. They are drunk and make Tayo drink a beer. Tayo tries to remember he has to complete the ceremony. He tries to act like nothing is wrong, so they will not think he is crazy. In the morning, he wakes up with a hangover, but they are gone. Suddenly, his intuition tells him they are not his friends. They have turned on him. He hears voices coming, and undoes the wires on the abandoned truck. Then he runs and hides at the abandoned uranium mine on Laguna land.
He has a vision of history and his part in it because of the uranium and the bombs made near by that caused the war he fought in. He has to finish the ceremony here. He sees the pattern in the stars as the sun transitions at the autumn to a place in the winter sky. He feels that he must stay alive this one night to complete the pattern. Then the witchery would turn on itself.
As he hides, a car arrives with Emo, Pinkie, and Leroy, but Harley is missing. They are drunk and start a fire. Tayo watches them torture Harley, and he grabs a screwdriver. He knows they are trying to force his hand. He is tempted to run out of hiding and kill Emo but holds back. Emo leaves with the body of Harley in the trunk, and Tayo goes back to the camp where he parted from T’seh to plant the roots she gave him. He crosses the river at sunrise and knows the ceremony is complete.
Tayo goes to Laguna to tell the old men and the council what happened. Harley and Leroy were found dead in the truck that looked like it had an accident. Emo later killed Pinkie and was sent away by the police to California.
Commentary on pages 214-end.
It is hard for Tayo to fight doubt about himself when he is with his old drunk friends, for they would call his visionary Indian world a sign of his insanity. When he suddenly realizes that Harley and Leroy have turned on him, he cries, not so much because he has lost his friends, as that he realizes they are lost to themselves.
As Tayo hides out at the old uranium mine, he suddenly understands that Old Grandma's blindness came when she watched the first atomic bomb set off at White Sands. Los Alamos is close by. Tayo is angrier that whites destroyed the earth than that they destroy Indians. The pattern of the ceremony must be completed at the uranium mine because it represents the witchery's destruction of everything. It was part of what connected all people into one clan against the white witchery to destroy the earth. It is there he is tempted to kill Emo, but he understands that violence is part of witchery. After all, if the Indians kill themselves off; whites don't even have to do it anymore.
Returning to T’seh's camp to plant the healing herb she wanted is a signal that the ceremony and healing are complete, not only for Tayo but for the people. His story of what happened is accepted by Ku'oosh and makes Tayo a part of the clan. His story has joined theirs.