In-between History and Memory: Leslie Marmon Silko’s Fictional World

Document Type : Original Article


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English Language and Literature, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Borujerd Branch, Islamic Azad University, Borujerd, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Roudehen Branch, Islamic Azad University, Roudehen, Iran.



Leslie Marmon Silko, an American Indian writer, is one of the pioneers of literary renaissance in Native American literature. Her works are focused on cultural identity, the Native people’s struggle to preserve their past and culture by means of storytelling. This article focuses on Silko’s fictional world as both fiction and history. Moreover, it deals with the cultural trauma ingrained in the Indigenous people’s collective memories, which have shaped Silko’s imagined geography in her works. Regarding the theoretical axis of discussions concerning history, historiography and emplotment of history, this article uses theories of Hayden White to explore the place of historiography in narrative. Furthermore, it applies the critical arguments concerning cultural trauma proposed by Jeffrey C. Alexander. The research proves that Silko and her characters are haunted not by the desire for history, or the past itself; but rather, they are haunted by the desire for the act of historical recollection and the process of remembering and surviving. Finally, this article shows that Silko, as a historical figure with certain literary-historiographical ambitions, reconstructs her cultural heritage and cultural identity through storytelling and fictionalizes history to give voice to her silenced land, past and history, and dismantle the dominant Euro-American historiography.


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