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When one begins literary studies, the text is often examined by the scholars firstly.But considering the uniqueness of Momaday’s ethnic identity and his historicalsignificance in Native American literature, one had better not sever the author with hisworks.Compared with other American writers, he is a Native American writer withcross-culture education. His mother, Mayme Natachee Scott, a teacher and writer, isdescended from early American pioneers (predominantly French) and a Cherokeegrandmother, and his father, Alfred Morris Momaday, a painter and an art teacher, is aKiowa. Therefore, Momaday is genetically mix-blooded. Momaday was born on theKiowa Indian reservation, then his parents took him to Arizona when he was one yearold, and later, his parents both worked as teachers in Jemez Day School for many years,therefore, he was exposed not only to his father’s Kiowa tradition, but also to theNavajo, Apache and Pueblo Indian cultures of the southwest. Momaday once wrote inThe Names: A Memoir: “my mother read to me, or she told me (English) stories inwhich I had the leading part. And my father told me the old Kiowa tales. These weremany times more exciting than anything I found at school; they, more than thegrammars and arithmetics, nourished the life of my mind” (68). From here it can beinferred that Momaday has been exposed to two different cultures since he was stillyoung. The Indian and white culture influenced Momaday greatly. But unlike theprotagonists in his novels, he could deal with the cultural differences well. After hegraduated from the University of New Mexico, he continued his graduate study inpoetry under the guidance of Yvor Winters, a famous critic and poet, at StanfordUniversity. Hence, his idea about literature, life and the world must be influenced bydiverse powers from various living and studying environments.
For most people, it may be an agony or torment to move back and forth betweentwo worlds because of culture shock and other impediments. But Momaday regards it asa kind of child’s play because of his young age. Momaday has a strong sense ofIndianness and collective consciousness and his writings are unavoidably containing hisdeep concerns about the Native Americans and their traditional culture, as well as theNative land.As the light broker of North American Indian literature, Momaday’s works haveattracted many people’s interests and attention. He is even respected as the dean ofAmerican Indian writers. Throughout N. Scott Momaday’s writing career, he mainlywrites two novels, House Made of Dawn and The Ancient Child, a journey book, TheWay to Rainy Mountain, an autobiographical account, The Names: A Memoir, twopoetry collections, Angle of Geese and Other Poems and The Gourd Dancer and someessays and short proses.His Pulitzer Prize-winning novel—House Made of Dawn opened a window fornon-Natives to gain a further understanding of the Indian world. James Ruppert oncecommented that when N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn won the PulitzerPrize in 1969, contemporary Native American Literature was ushered into the literaryspotlight (36). Most importantly, his works also inspired many later writers, such asLeslie Silko and Paula Gunn Allen. Allen once said that reading House Made of Dawnwas one of the major turning points in her life. It made things possible for her that werenever possible before (Momaday and Joseph Bruchac 18).

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