Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School



This thesis will examine how Paula Gunn Allen and Leslie Marmon Silko employ traditional Keres and non-Keres myths in their novels The Woman Who Owned the Shadows and Almanac of the Dead. Both novels present Native myths within contemporary settings so that past and present become inextricably intertwined in a circle of time without beginning or end. Since the time structure of all traditional legends is circular, Allen and Silko seem to follow closely the original pattern of the myths. This thesis will illustrate Allen's approach to Keres and non-Keres myths and Silko's representations of Native cultures of North America, Mesoamerica, and West Africa, focusing on how the two authors' mixed blood status, femaleness, and education, as well as Allen's homosexuality, cause them to approach the oral tradition differently.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Allen, Paula Gunn. Woman who owned the shadows

Silko, Leslie, 1948- Almanac of the dead

Keresan mythology

Myth in literature



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University