Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.

The Moon

The moon often lends its light in a pragmatic but enchanted way in the novel. It symbolizes a sinister luck: the smelt fish throw themselves on the beach in the light of the moon, allowing any fisherman to pick them up with his hands; furthermore, the light of the moon allows the entire community to work all night on the farm, as Francisco recalls. Like the fish, the geese Abel and Vidal hunt are distracted by the moon, allowing Abel to successfully shoot one of the birds


The rain in various scenes of House Made of Dawn symbolizes a form of convergence that results in dramatic events. It rains when Abel and Angela first make love, it rains after Francisco dies, and when Abel leaves Los Angeles to return to Walatowa. Abel's murder of the Albino—arguably the climax of the novel—happens during a torrential rain that spreads the albino's blood all over the surrounding earth.

The Eagle

One of Abel's most notable childhood experiences was his membership in the Eagle Watchers Society. He sees an eagle carry a snake across the sky, and after telling the leader of the society of what he has seen he is allowed to go with the society on an eagle hunt. After he captures a magnificent eagle and another member captures a second eagle, they let one of the birds go and watch it fly off. As Abel watches the eagle disappear, he is filled with longing, as for him the eagle is symbolic of an unknown form of freedom.