The Yellow Woman

Discussion Question 1

QuoteIn each story there always seems to be some sort of symbol that we may or may not notice while we are reading it. More often than not you can pick them out pretty easily, it may just take a couple tries. Symbols stand for something that the author doesn’t necessarily want to outright tell the reader. It adds a hint of mystery to the tale that the reader is being told. Silko’s “Yellow Woman’ overall was a rather mysterious story to me and the symbols just added to the mystery even more. While the stolen beef and Jell-O may not have seemed to have much significance to some, it told a wealth of knowledge to others I believe. It just depends on how difficult you choose to look.

The stolen beef and Jell-O didn’t have much of anything in common to me in the beginning of my thought process for this question. I had to think about it for a bit, but I think that they both represent feelings. The stolen beef really stood out to me as a symbol once I finished reading the entire story. The quote “I slapped my horse across the flank and the sacks of raw meat swing against my knees,’ (1210) is where I first noticed some sort of symbol to the beef. That quote sounds kind of like the beginning of this story where the Yellow Woman and the man are together by the river. She was explaining the way their thighs were against each other. While the beginning quotes and this one don’t mean the same thing I found it to be kind of reminiscent of the beginning. It could be taken as a sign that Yellow Woman is missing the man that she met on the river. The stolen beef I think can also represent how the Yellow Woman was stolen and taken up into the mountains. He steals beef just as he stole her and, in the end, her heart as well. The Jell-O is used as a symbol as well to kind of bring us back to reality. It seems to give off the feeling of home, which is warmth and happiness. The same sentence that the Jell-O is mentioned in it says that her husband is playing with their child. By putting those together in the same sentence I think that it helps amplify the feeling and togetherness that family creates. When I think of Jell-O I think of good memories not bad, as where the stolen meat would probably bring up some not as good memories and feelings.

These elements of the story do a great job of changing the mood between scenes. In the scene the beef is mentioned in the mood seems to be tense. Things are happening that are rather mysterious and scary when they are trying to take the meat to sell. This sort of mood is a really good one to go along the situation that they are in while being confronted by the man on the horse and a good mood overall with the whole story of the Yellow Woman pretty much being kidnapped. The Jell-O then does a good job at breaking the mood again and changing it to one of warmth and happiness which I didn’t really feel during any other part of the story.

Overall I found this story to be rather intriguing. It had a good storyline to it and it made me want to know if she was the woman or not. Even though she kept saying that she wasn’t I felt like she could have been. For being as short as it was it had a good amount of emotion in it and the symbols really helped create that emotion as I demonstrated above.

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One thought on “The Yellow Woman

  1. amymgauger

    I love how you read the symbolism in the beef and the Jello. I really thought the food aspect made her world suddenly real to Yellow Woman, and now that I’ve read your post, I agree with you!

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