Yellow Woman


Leslie Marmon Silko

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The White Rancher Character Analysis

The white rancher intercepts Silva and Yellow Woman as they head to the town to sell Silva’s butchered beef. The narrator describes the white rancher as having “thick rolls of belly fat” and smelling “rancid.” Her description suggests a criticism of the gluttony of the white people who stole native land and used tit to feed themselves and line their pockets. The white rancher addresses Silva gruffly as “Indian,” immediately accuses him of being the cattle thief, and expects him to willingly turn himself in to state police. Both because of the violence implicit in addressing someone by their race, and because of his connection to the state police, the white rancher represents the vestiges of colonial authority—the same authority that committed grievous offenses against indigenous populations and now polices those populations. He embodies the existential threat constantly faced by native people who struggle to maintain their cultures and communities. The narrator implies that Silva kills the rancher when she writes that she hears four gunshots in the distance, having earlier remarked that she thought the rancher was probably unarmed.

The White Rancher Quotes in Yellow Woman

The Yellow Woman quotes below are all either spoken by The White Rancher or refer to The White Rancher. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Yellow Woman published in 2012.
Part Three Quotes

“Where did you get the fresh meat?” the white man asked.

“I’ve been hunting,” Silva said, and when he shifted his weight in the saddle the leather creaked.

“The hell you have, Indian. You’ve been rustling cattle. We’ve been looking for the thief for a long time…Don’t try anything, Indian. Just keep riding to Marquez. We’ll call the state police from there.”

Related Characters: Silva/Ka’tsina (speaker), The White Rancher (speaker), Yellow Woman/Narrator
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
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The White Rancher Character Timeline in Yellow Woman

The timeline below shows where the character The White Rancher appears in Yellow Woman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part Three
Identity Theme Icon
Native American Culture, Identity, and Experience Theme Icon
A white rancher rides up to Silva and the narrator and demands to know where Silva got the... (full context)
Identity Theme Icon
Reality and Myth Theme Icon
Time, Storytelling, Prophecy Theme Icon
Native American Culture, Identity, and Experience Theme Icon
Silva turns to the narrator and instructs her to ride back up the mountain. The white rancher orders Silva to ride to Marquez, saying that he plans to call the state police.... (full context)