Leslie Silko “Tony’s Story” Review and Analysis
There aren’t many stories that take me by surprise in regard to how racial injustice is portrayed but “Tony’s Story” does just that.
“Tony’s Story” allows the audience to glimpse a twofold experience of racial injustice. There is a divide between Leon and Tony’s beliefs. Leon’s beliefs are ‘watered down’ and Tony’s are traditional. Leon has returned from the Army, where he has experienced more of the world than Tony. Tony has lived life in his pueblo and sticks towards those traditions. When Tony shook Leon’s hand we are introduced into the divide between the characters.
“He grabbed my hand and held it tight like a white man.” From character Tony in “Tony’s Story” by Leslie Silko.
This abovementioned sentence was mentioned by our narrator, Tony. Tony separates Leon’s actions with the traditional actions he is accustomed to. For me, this presaged the divide between Tony’s mystical beliefs and Leon’s.
Tony mentions to his spiritual beliefs in a few ways. One obvious way was the dream when the cop is transformed into a masked figure pointing human bones at Tony. The cop is already associated with evil but is dehumanized by wearing a mask and pointing with human bone. Tony recalls a story his parents told him about masked dancers and not looking into their eyes from fear they would grab you.
Throughout the story, Tony associates the world through his beliefs. He alludes to not understanding Leon’s talk about ‘rights’. Leon’s modern beliefs represent justice, justice for himself and standing up for his rights. Tony ends the story by killing the evil that was in his world, having to burn the body to cleanse the area. Tony‘s loss of innocence steams from killing the cop who he no longer saw as a person but an “it” that represented evil.
As I stated before, there aren’t many stories that surprised me in regard to racial injustice. Many of the themes and experiences are repeated. Silko, however, delivered a refreshing take to a story enriched in Native culture.