Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Abel (ah-BEHL), a World War II veteran who returns to Wolatowa, his native pueblo, in 1945. Thick-chested and stocky, but also agile and athletic, he was orphaned at the age of five, when his mother died, and has been reared by his grandfather, Francisco. Reserved and stoic in his dealings with others, he is out of harmony with the rich traditional life of Wolatowa, in part because of painful memories of childhood but also because of his traumatic war experiences. Sentenced to prison for killing an albino from his village whom he thought was a witch, he is paroled and “relocated” in Los Angeles, where he leads a rootless, alcoholic life.


Francisco, Abel’s maternal grandfather. In his late seventies when Abel returns from the war, he was one of the great runners in Wolatowa’s ceremonial races when he was younger but is now crippled by disease and a lifetime of hard work. He possesses great personal dignity and is devoted to the rich ceremonial traditions of Wolatowa, which are to him a harmonious mixture of Christian and pagan elements. His death in 1952 begins Abel’s reaffirmation of the cultural values of his native place.

Father Olguin

Father Olguin (ohl-GEEN), the priest at Wolatowa. Born in Mexico, he is small and swarthy. Because he is weary, is prematurely gray, and has one blind eye, he seems older than his years. He is...

(The entire section is 610 words.)

House Made of Dawn Characters

While Momaday has denied a conscious awareness of his choice, many readers first connect Abel to the biblical Abel, the first victim. The...

(The entire section is 347 words.)

House Made of Dawn Character Analysis

House Made of Dawn Abel

The protagonist of the story, Abel is a Native American war veteran who struggles to find his place in the world. Some critics have...

(The entire section is 291 words.)

House Made of Dawn Francisco

Francisco is Abel's grandfather. A believer in the traditional ways, he is described as a "longhair." The novel opens with him trying to...

(The entire section is 203 words.)

House Made of Dawn Father Olguin

Father Olguin is the Roman Catholic priest at the mission at Walatowa. He is a confused man, torn between the traditions of his religion and...

(The entire section is 253 words.)

House Made of Dawn John Big Bluff Tosamah

As pastor of the Los Angeles Holiness Pan-Indian Rescue Mission and Priest of the Sun, Tosamah gives sermons on both Biblical stories and...

(The entire section is 182 words.)

House Made of Dawn Other Characters

The Albino

The albino (also called The White Man) is a mysterious but important person in this story. He is frequently...

(The entire section is 394 words.)