Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Linda Allen

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Martina Sciolino

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Craig Carey

Committee Member 3 Department



This project examines the roles of animals and animal figures in the Native American novels House Made of Dawn (1968)by N. Scott Momaday and Ceremony (1977) by Leslie Marmon Silko. Both novelists consistently evoke animal imagery within their respective texts often pairing this imagery alongside symbolic and metaphorical depictions of cannibalistic identity violence. Through the use of posthuman and postcolonial methodologies and ideas, I contend that the pairing of these two distinct types of imagery that both Momaday and Silko intentionally align the animal figures with premodern, indigenous belief systems while the cannibalistic violence is more often envisioned as a consequence of Western modernity. Thus, I conclude that both Momaday and Silko juxtapose the animal imagery within the texts against these depictions of metaphoric cannibal violence to challenge modern perceptions of the human/nonhuman continuum. Both novels postulate that recognition of the premodern continuum is a method to facilitate healing brought about through the imposition of cannibalistic Western ideals on indigenous peoples.