Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Charles Johanningsmeier


This thesis shows that much of contemporary criticism of N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn is split among two ideologically different readings: the AmerEuropean and the Native American readings. The author describes ensuing difficulties in scholarship and the process of literary couverture, the masking of multiple readings of the novel, by one privileged interpretation. This novel defies critical categorization in many ways because it embodies the convergence of AmerEuropean writing traditions with the American Indian oral tradition. The metaphor of the choir is chosen to explain the multiple narrative points of view used by the author in order to create a community of tellers. By closely examining these narrative lines, the reader/audience begins to understand that Momaday seeks to redefine the contemporary Native American community. Finally, this paper lifts the metaphor of choir from a reading of the text to help illuminate and redirect contemporary Native American literary criticism.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of English and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2001 Monica Nicole Kershner

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