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Details in the novel correspond to real-life occurrences.
Early reviewers such as Marshall Sprague in his "Anglos and Indians", New York Times Book Review (9 June 1968) complained that the novel contained "plenty of haze" but suggested that perhaps this was inevitable in rendering "the mysteries of cultures different from our own" and then goes on to describe this as "one reason why [the story] rings so true." Sprague also discussed the seeming contradiction of writing about a native oral culture—especially in English, the language of the so-called oppressor.
He continues, "The mysteries of cultures different from our own cannot be explained in a short novel, even by an artist as talented as Mr. The many critics—such as Carole Oleson in her "The Remembered Earth: Momaday's House Made of Dawn", South Dakota Review II (Spring 1973)—who have given the novel extended analysis acknowledge that much more explanation is needed "before outsiders can fully appreciate all the subtleties of House Made of Dawn." Baine Kerr has elaborated this point to suggest that Momaday has used "the modern Anglo novel [as] a vehicle for a sacred text," that in it he is "attempting to transliterate Indian culture, myth, and sensibility into an alien art form, without loss." However, some commentators have been more critical.
He is coming back to his people and his place in the world.
House Made of Dawn produced no extensive commentary when it was first published—perhaps, as William James Smith mused in a review of the work in Commonwealth LXXXVIII (20 September 1968), because "it seems slightly un-American to criticize an American Indian's novel"—and its subject matter and theme did not seem to conform to the prescription above.
When he returns to his job, the boss harasses him and Abel quits.
A downward spiral begins and Abel continues to get drunk every day, borrow money from Ben and Milly, and laze around the apartment.
However, his overall situation has not improved and Abel ends up drunk on the beach with his hands, head, and upper body beaten and broken.
Memories run through his mind of the reservation, the war, jail, and Milly.
When the time comes, Abel dresses his grandfather for burial and smears his own body with ashes. He is participating in a ritual his grandfather told him about—the race of the dead.
As he runs, Abel begins to sing for himself and Francisco.