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“The man to send rain clouds” by Leslie Marmon Silko Essay

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Updated: Dec 9th, 2019

Introduction

The central conflict in a story is normally the fight between the main character and other things that hinder him or her from achieving or accomplishing something that he or she wants (Garfinkel, 44). If there is no central conflict then a story does not exist since other characters and themes revolve around the central conflict to make a story. At times the central conflict in a story can be the burning issue in the story that needs to be addressed or resolved (Fog & Budtz, 66).

How conflict is developed

In the Story “The man to send rain clouds” by Silko, the central conflict is lack of rain or drought. The main character is an old man by the name Teofilo whose work is to look after the sheep and return them to the sheep camp where he looks after them over the night. The concept of drought or lack of water is introduced in the very beginning of the story when Teofilo is found dead under a dry cottonwood tree (Lesli1).

This shows that the old man had taken rest under the cotton tree to protect his body from the scorching sun when he died. When Leon and his brother -in-law went looking for Teofilo, only to find him dead, Leon stood under a tree as he waited for Ken again giving more evidence that the sun was scorching (Lesli1). The presence of bare cottonwoods and wide sandy arroyo still tells that there was no rainfall for a long time.

As the story continues, Leon looks at the sun and unzips his jacket a sign that it was hot. After painting the old man’s face, they both ask the dead man to send them rain clouds establishing further the conflict of drought. As the preparation of the burial is made, Ken points out that only the top layer of the soil was frozen and the gravediggers could complete digging the grave before dark.

Again this tells how the weather is, with some parts covered by snow and no rain. When Louse tells Leon to look for a priest to sprinkle holy water for Grandpa, this is more of a religious activity but one can tell that Louse said this due to the dry spell experienced in the area.

As the evening approaches, the weather changes to a chilly one and the Pueblo road was full of dust (Leslie 1). Here the author creates the central conflict of a drought because whenever there is drought it is very hot and windy during the day, cold and windy at night. Louse stands shivering and then zips his jacket which is a sign of a cold weather.

The idea of drought also rises during the dialogue between Leon and father Paul when Leon tells the father that they want the old man to have plenty of water. Although this is more of a ritual, the author has used it to bring out the idea of drought.

The dry tumbleweeds that grew in the graveyard were dry which a sign of a dry spell. As the priest pours holy water on the old man’s body and the grave, the water disappeared before it touched the dim, cold sand. He continued to sprinkle more water until when the container was empty.

According to the story, the water dried immediately like it happens when there are showers of rain and sun at the same time in August. The priest’s brown robe, corn meal and pollen that were sprinkled on the blanket were also blown away by wind. Presence of strong and chilly wind in the evening after a hot and cold day as explained in the story clearly brings the idea of a drought.

How conflict is resolved

The central conflict is normally solved in the story through the actions of different characters (Novakovich 54). As the story opens, Leon and his brother-in-law Ken are seen to contribute in solving the central conflict. After painting the old man’s body, they both shout “Send us rain clouds, Grandfather” (Leslie 1).

Culturally the two believed that when the old man dies, he is capable of sending rain clouds and could be a solution to the drought. During the burial of the old man, water is sprinkled on his body and grave since some of the characters believed that by giving him adequate water he could in return send them rain clouds.

After the burial Leon again looks at the high Blue Mountains which were initially covered by snow. He is happy since the snow had melted and the priest had agreed to sprinkle holy water on the old man thereby enabling him to send rain clouds (Leslie 1). The absence of snow symbolized the onset of rain and end of drought thereby resolving the central conflict of the story.

Works Cited

Fog, Klaus & Budtz Christian. Storytelling: Branding in Practice, New York, NY: Springer, 2010. Print.

Garfinkel, Asher. Screenplay Story Analysis, New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing Inc. 2007. Print.

Leslie, Marmon S. “The Man to Send Rain Clouds”. Retrieved from web

Novakovich, Josip. Fiction. Writer’s Workshop: The Key Elements of a Writing Workshop, Omaha, NE: Writer’s Digest Books, 2008, Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, December 9). "The man to send rain clouds" by Leslie Marmon Silko. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-man-to-send-rain-clouds-by-leslie-marmon-silko/

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""The man to send rain clouds" by Leslie Marmon Silko." IvyPanda, 9 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-man-to-send-rain-clouds-by-leslie-marmon-silko/.

1. IvyPanda. ""The man to send rain clouds" by Leslie Marmon Silko." December 9, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-man-to-send-rain-clouds-by-leslie-marmon-silko/.


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IvyPanda. ""The man to send rain clouds" by Leslie Marmon Silko." December 9, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-man-to-send-rain-clouds-by-leslie-marmon-silko/.

References

IvyPanda. 2019. ""The man to send rain clouds" by Leslie Marmon Silko." December 9, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-man-to-send-rain-clouds-by-leslie-marmon-silko/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) '"The man to send rain clouds" by Leslie Marmon Silko'. 9 December.

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