House Made of Dawn: The Loss and Rebirth of Identity
Indian, as the first inhabitants in North America continent are known as mysterious and full of legends, but they are always considered an old race with glorious and miserable history, like most other earlier civilization in the world. The Indians had been silent in the history of literature for a quite long time, because most of their works are in oral forms, and spread from mouth to mouth among themselves. In House Made of Dawn Momaday tells how a young man, Abel, comes back from the white world and finds that he is lost between both the white and Indian cultures and the loss of identity.
Even though Abel grows up in the tribe and is immerged in the Indian culture, but in other Indians point of view he is still an outsider because of his father. “His father was a Navajo, they said, or a Sia, or an Isleta, an outsider anyway, which made him and his mother and Vidal somehow foreign and strange.”(Momaday 11) his childhood makes him feels isolated, his entire family members have been dead except for his grandpa, and he was totally lost. Another sign of showing he is losing his identity is his loss of language, according to the Indians; language for them is very important. They use language to tell stories so the Indian identity can be pass on from generation to generation. Abel has suffered tremendous pain to use language. He wants to pray but cannot enter the rhythm; he tried to sing but cannot get the right words and tune. Abel did not just fails to reenter the Indian world, but also having a hard time to adjust to the white world. “All around you and you cannot get a hold of it because it is going too fast. You have to get use to it first, and it’s hard.”(Momaday 139) in Los Angeles everything is going fast, everyone is working all day and at night people will go to the bar to drink. But back at the reservation is a completely different pace, at the beginning of the novel he stop working for three days...
Cited: Churchill, Ward. “The Crucible of American Indian Identity.” Jul. 2004
Clements, William M. “Momaday’s House Made of Dawn.” The Explicator 41.1 (1982).
Momaday, N. Scott. House Made of Dawn. New York: NY p, 1996. Print.
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