In the chapter July 28 of House Made of Dawn, Mamaday spends several pages painting the backdrop using eloquent and poetic wording. The scene is of changing seasons to a dry hot summer. Mamaday goes on to depict changes to the landscape that are more permanent. There are no more wolves, fewer eagles and a sadly caged eagle. This scenic story closely parallels what is happening to Abel. “Abel walked into the canyon. His return to the town had been a failure…” (53). Abel feels that not being able to talk to his grandfather or pray, sing or speak in his native language are failures. Abel does not fit into his native ‘landscape’ because he has changed too much. Much like the loss of wolves and the eagle in a cage, Abel feels lost and trapped in his own homeland.
By bringing something that otherwise may seem mundane and ordinary such as the landscape to the forefront of a story, Mamaday gives the reader a glimpse into the ideas of and beliefs of the Native American culture. For example, a tree is not just something in the background. It is to be reflected upon and used as a reminder of all that went into the tree, the rain, soil, sun and the animals in or on the tree. This is how House Made of Dawn (P.S.)">House Made of Dawn takes the reader through the story of Abel finding his way as a Native American in the story. Through what typically would be just the background setting, the scenery is brought to the foreground and not to be dismissed when reading this story.