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House Made of Dawn

N. Scott Momaday


Key Facts

Key Facts

full title ·  House Made of Dawn

author · N. Scott Momaday

type of work · Novel

genre · Native American fiction

language · English

time and place written · Mid 1960s, America

date of first publication · 1968

publisher · Harper & Row

narrator · The bulk of the novel focuses on Abel's perspective, though Ben Benally narrates the third section. Furthermore, a significant portion of the narrative in the second section is a sermon delivered by Tosamah

point of view · The narrator is omniscient and speaks primarily in the third person, but occasionally switches to first person. Significant portions of the novel are composed of narratives from other sources, including sermons, a diary, and Kiowa legends retold

tone · The tone of the novel changes from moments of rapture to moments of agony

tense · Present tense with several flashbacks

setting (time) · 1945–1952

setting (place) · Walatowa, New Mexico, and Los Angeles, California

protagonist · Abel

major conflict · Abel's disillusionment with World War II and his return to life in New Mexico after the war

rising action · Abel's romance with Angela St. John; his work; his increasingly heavy drinking

climax · Abel's murder of the albino, whom he thinks is a witch or evil force

falling action · Abel's time in prison; his relocation to Los Angeles; his entry into industrial life; his descent into alcoholism and violence; his ultimate return to Walatowa

themes · The expression of Native American culture through storytelling; the tempo of life; historical and personal relationships with nature

motifs · Priests; flashbacks; running

symbols · The moon; rain; eagles

foreshadowing · Francisco interprets the events of the natural environment around him as ominous, foreshadowing Abel's murder of the albino

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