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House Made of Dawn Themes & Topics

This Study Guide consists of approximately 132 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of House Made of Dawn.
This section contains 223 words
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Thematic Overview

Momaday's special concern with language stems from his background as a member of a culture with a strong oral tradition, in which language has the power to create and destroy. Abel's destruction comes about through language: from Tosamah's daunting preaching, to the "legalese" at his trial , which silences him. Abel is unable to communicate his need to be healed, and his silence pervades the novel.

Abel's re-creation also comes through language and ritual. His friend, Benally, teaches him to re-create himself as a native American; "House made of dawn" is the beginning of a Navajo ritual of healing, which encompasses and orders the world. These reminders of his cultural heritage restore Abel, and give him courage to go back to the reservation and become a "longhair" — a participating member of his tribe.

This ordering power of language also embraces Abel's search for the sacred, which Momaday locates...

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This section contains 223 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our House Made of Dawn Study Guide
Copyrights
House Made of Dawn from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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