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Word Count: 2,157
In the novel House Made of Dawn by N Scott Momaday there are many religious references mostly Catholic references intertwined within the story One must wonder why the story of a Native Americans struggle to return to his cultural roots would be laced throughout with Catholic references especially predominate Catholic character names However these same religious characterizations go far in giving the reader a structure for understanding this complex work Of all the religious names found throughout this novel the most immediately evident are those of the main characters Abel Francisco Angela and Milly The first character we encounter is Abel In the Bible we know that Abel is the second son of Adam and Eve In the Book of Genesis it says Later she gave birth to his brother Abel In the course of time Cain was very angry and Cain said to his brother Abel Lets go out to the field And while they were in the field Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him Genesis 42-3 5 8 This image of Abel as the helpless victim can be applied to Momadays character as well First it is interesting to note the altercation between Cain and Abel in comparison to Abels killing of the white man While the Bible portrays Abel as the sympathetic victim of a vicious crime of jealousy in Momadays story Abel seems at first to have taken the position of the aggressor in killing the white man However despite Abels violent crime he still seems to mirror his Biblical namesake more so than the violent image of Cain Furthermore unlike Cain Momadays Abel has valid personal reasons for slaying the white man We first see him as the victim of the white man At the feast of Santiago we see the white man brutally beating Abel The narrator says Again and again the white man struck him heavily brutally
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