Tim A. Bowes

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School



This thesis focuses on the identity crisis and subsequent search for a cultural cure through a healing process in each of the aforementioned novels. While the three authors are of different tribal backgrounds, each presents a healing process characteristic of traditional Native American cultures. Each novel focuses on an ethnically mixed, Native American protagonist existing in a confused, alienated, and maladjusted psychological condition prior to and during his or her individual quest for identity. This thesis compares and contrasts the experiences of the protagonists in these thematically similar works, discusses their estrangement experiences, examines their respective quests for cultural identities, and identifies the ritual processes each protagonist follows for survival. This thesis focuses especially on two common, cultural denominators, language use (an ability to express one's self) and landscape recognition. By examining the protagonists' psychological conditions prior to healing, while also recognizing the significant influences of various secondary characters and everyday events, this thesis highlights similarities of these quests in this cultural literary theme.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Momaday, N. Scott, 1934- House made of dawn Silko, Leslie, 1948- Ceremony Allen, Paula Gunn Woman who owned the shadows Identity (Psychology) in literature American fiction -- Indian authors -- History and criticism American fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University