Character Analysis: “The Man to Send Rain Clouds”
Leslie Mormon Silko wrote “The Man to Send Rain Clouds” in 1969. The story details the death of an old Indian named Teofilo. During one point of the story Leon prepares Teofilo’s body for burial. Leon proceeds to paint Teofilo’s face yellow. In the Native American Culture the color yellow stands for mourning or death. Teofilo may be dead, but Silko presents him as a transitional character going through the three stage process. Silko uses the three stage process to demonstrate the importance of living a full life and leaving a lasting impression upon the world.
The first stage of the process is Separation. Separation is the character moving away into the unfamiliar. Teofilo is literally, physically separated from his tribe. In the beginning of the story Teofilo is found dead in the sheep pasture under a tree. Teofilo was an old shepherd who tended the sheep alone at night. Silko presents Teofilo as a lonely, neglected, poor man. “They found him under a big cottonwood tree. His Levi jacket and pants were faded light blue so that he had been easy to find. The big cottonwood tree stood apart from a small grove of winter bare cotton woods which grew in the wide, sandy arroyo. He had been dead for a day or more, and the sheep had wandered and scattered up and down the arroyo.” Silko illustrates the tree as being isolated from the other trees because it parallels Teofilo’s separation from the others. “The people stood close to each other with little clouds of steam puffing from their faces.”
The next stage of the process is transition. Transition is the character going through trials and tribulations that stimulates personal growth and knowledge. Teofilo’s burial process is his journey of change. Teofilo went from being a weathered lively old man to being a fragile decomposing corpse. Teofilo’s fragility and age is illustrated when the young people dress him in his burial clothes. “He looked small and...
Cited: Silko, Leslie. “The Man to Send Rain Clouds.” An Introduction to Literature. Ed. Sylvan Barnet, William Burto, and William E. Cain. 16th ed. New York: Longman, 2011. 519-522. Print.
Cultural Face Painting Information." Face Painting | Designs | Free Ideas | Fun Examples | Pictures. Web. 22 Feb. 2011.
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