Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In many ways, this is a fragmented text in comparison with House Made of Dawn. It is roughly divided into four sections or books...

(The entire section is 337 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Momaday's reputation as one of the first Native American writers to receive public acclaim establishes his texts as a touchstone for other...

(The entire section is 332 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Momaday's novels explore issues of identity: the search for an identity between cultures, the reclamation of a lost identity in the face of...

(The entire section is 558 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Coltelli, Laura. Winged Words. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.

Meredith, Howard. “The Ancient Child.” World Literature Today 64 (Summer, 1990): 510-511. Discusses the structure of The Ancient Child and its relation to the novel’s themes. Notes the importance of art as “affirmation” and “resistance” for both the protagonists (Set and Grey). Focuses on the importance of the geometrical symbolism of the titles of the novel’s four sections and of cultural images as the framework of the story.

Rainwater, Catherine. “Planes, Lines, Shapes, and Shadows: N. Scott Momaday’s Iconological Imagination.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 37 (Winter, 1995): 376-393. Outlines Momaday’s thoughts about art and his theory of images. Offers an iconological metadiscourse of Momaday’s novels, examines the basis of Momaday’s vision of self, and provides in-depth background on The Ancient Child.

Roemer, Kenneth M. “The Ancient Child: A Novel.” The American Indian Quarterly 15 (Winter, 1991): 269-271. Places The Ancient Child in the context of Momaday’s other works. Identifies recurring themes and images and discusses how Momaday’s incorporation of existing material into this work typifies his aesthetic theory. Discusses the importance of structure and image in developing the novel’s themes and examines Momaday’s belief in the “transformative powers” of storytelling.

Schubnell, Matthias. “Locke Setman, Emil Nolde, and the Search for Expression in N. Scott Momaday’s The Ancient Child.The American Indian Quarterly 18 (Fall, 1994): 468-480. Schubnell traces the connection between Set’s creativity and his search for a mythic identity to a similar artistic journey undertaken by German expressionistic painter Emil Nolde. Schubnell’s comparison between Set and Nolde illuminates Set’s self-discovery as an artist.

Vizenor, Gerald. Manifest Manners. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1994.

Woodard, Charles L. Ancestral Voice: Conversations with N. Scott Momaday. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989. A lengthy interview in which Momaday discusses the relation between his life and works, his aesthetic theories, the legend of Billy the Kid, and Indian myths. He talks about the transformative power of stories and storytelling and discusses his personal connection to the Kiowa myth of the bear boy. The Ancient Child is discussed as a work in progress.

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Other than a few influences and faint traces, the novel overall, in many respects, is without precedence. Momaday's particular mode of...

(The entire section is 161 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Momaday's story cycle "The Strange and True Story of My Life with Billy the Kid" has been published in a number of places both before and...

(The entire section is 129 words.)