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Alternative Messiah: Native Spirituality in Leslie Mamon Silko's Gardens in the Dunes
Dr. Liang I-ping
Gardens in the Dunes
藉由探討基督教與北美原住民宗教的相互關係，以及介紹席爾柯如何利用十九世紀的鬼舞運動(Ghost Dance Movement)來為受殖民統治的原住民發聲，透過小說裡的沙丘蜥蜴姐妹(Sand Lizard girls)與Hattie重申了原住民靈性的完整性，本論文主張另類救世主不但滿足了基督再臨的預言，同時也為她們帶了重生與救贖。渴求拯救的需要是普遍的，只是救世主是因人而異的。 當傳統的基督教教義變成太狹礙無法再提供救贖，人們需要尋找到屬於自己的另類救世主。透過Indigo、鹽巴姐姐(Sister Salt)、快捷祖母(Grandmother Fleet)與Hattie如何抗拒正統以及如何不斷地尋找生命中平衡與和諧，席爾柯證明靈性的成熟完善是有可能的。《沙丘花園》中的另類救世主指引出了一條脫離迷惑通往心靈完整的道路。
本論文包含四章。首章介紹傷膝屠殺事件(Wounded Knee Massacre)與鬼舞運動的歷史，並且探討基督教與原住民宗教的關係。
This thesis is a study of the alternative Messiah in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Gardens in the Dunes. By focusing on the interrelationship between Christianity and tribal religions, and how Silko uses issues of religion to retell the silenced colonial history of the Ghost Dance Movement in the nineteenth century and reclaims the spiritual integrity of Native Americans through the stories of Sand Lizard girls and Hattie, I argue that they have found for themselves an “alternative Messiah” that not only fulfills the prophecy of the Second Coming, but also brings them salvation and spiritual regeneration, which is a universal need for each culture, each community, and each individual. The route might differ and the form of Messiah might vary. Traditional Christianity has become too narrow to fulfill the needs for all peoples. Everyone can and need to determine and find out what his or her own alternative Messiah is. My explorations of Hattie, Grandmother Fleet, Sister Salt and Indigo intend to demonstrate the possibility of reaching spirituality maturity by rejecting orthodoxy and engaging themselves in finding the balance and harmony in life. With the alternative Messiah presented in the novel, Gardens in the Dunes has shown everyone a possible way out of the bewilderment and puzzles in life into spiritual integrity. This thesis contains four chapters. Chapter One is the introduction, which starts with the introduction of the historical Wounded Knee Massacre and the Ghost Dance Movement to explore the relationships between Christianity and Native American religion. In Chapter Two, textual examination of the white characters is included. After introducing the Manichean Allegory, I will focus on Edward and Susan, who belong to materialist extreme in the polarization. The second half of this chapter will focus on Hattie. I will examine how she crosses the boundary and attains spiritual salvation at the end. In Chapter Three, I will explore the traditions of Native spirituality and focus on Grandmother Fleet as an example. Later on I will briefly examining the history of the difficult and complicated situation of tribal religions after encountering Christianity then focus on Sister Salt and Indigo. Even though survival becomes more difficult and complicated, they still find their own “alternative Messiah.” The old gardens, both as the point of departure and the destination, symbolize the spiritual wholeness that they have finally reached in the end of the novel. Finding the balance, they have determined for themselves what life means to them. Chapter Four is the conclusion.
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