Yellow Woman is a short story that is divided into four smallsections. The yellow woman, who is the narrator and Silva who is thestranger who seduces her and leaves with her into the mountains arethe two main characters. Notably, the Indian woman is married and shehas left her husband and their baby behind. Towards the end of thestory when she returns to her village, it is written “my husband,Al, was playing with the baby” (Silko 374). This is a clearindication that the woman was married. The main themes that areexplicit in this story and that deliver the message that the authorwants the reader to understand are the themes of ethics and morality.
There are numerous cases where human beings are faced withsituations, which they can hardly solve. In most cases, they aredilemmas revolving around an ethical or moral issue. In the story“Yellow Woman”, the narrator seems to be in a moral dilemma.Whereas she is married and has a baby, she accepts to go to themountains with Silva, who is a cattle rustler. Furthermore, despitebeing married, she spends two nights in the mountains. When sheattempts to leave while Silva is sleeping, she is unable, and shecomes back to tell him goodbye. Even after she leaves and passes bythe river and sees the leaves that he had cut, she feels like goingback and kissing him. “I saw the leaves and wanted to go back tohim”, she says (Silko 374). This shows clearly how confused thewoman was despite being married. The actions of the woman are meantto enlighten the reader regarding the immorality that is rampant inmarriages. The story that the narrator is planning to tell herhusband and her mother of being kidnapped is meant to conceal herimmoral actions.
Silva is a cattle rustler. This is his own confession in the storywhen he says, “…I steal from them…” (Silko 370). He stealsfrom the Mexicans and the whites and later slaughters the cattle andsells the meat. This is an unethical act, which he seems to doconfidently and even tell the narrator. He is not afraid to invitethe narrator to join him to go and sell the meat. One importantaspect about human condition is the existence of inequality andracism. The author has used cattle rustling to inform the reader ofthe effects of economic inequality. The Mexicans and the Whites seemto the cattle owners (Silko 370). The cattle rustler is a Navajo. Itappears that some races are economically advantaged over others.Furthermore, the aspects of ethics occur when the married womanagrees to sleep with the stranger in the mountains. It is clear thata marriage is meant to be sacred and affairs outside marriage areconsidered to be unethical.
In this short story, the author has successfully managed to explainto the audience various aspects of human condition through the themesof ethics and morality. The issues of inequality, marriage and familymatters have all been exemplified in the short story. The narrator isin a dilemma over her love life since she is married and stillfollows and sleeps with the stranger in the mountains. The strangeris a cattle rustler who is used to show the inequalities andunethical behaviors such as stealing that occur in human life.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. “Yellow Woman”, In Nothing but the truth:An anthropology of Native American Literature. Upper SaddleRiver: Prentice Hall, 2001. Print, Pp 367-374.