Cultural Conflict in The Plumed Serpent and House Made of Dawn

2832 Words 12 Pages
Cultural Conflict in The Plumed Serpent and House Made of Dawn

When two cultures are thrown together, tensions can be created within the people of each culture. This disruption can cause unconscious forces to surface that create anxiety, pull people together, or push them in unexpected directions. The genesis and consequences of those psychological forces are examined in D. H. Lawrence's The Plumed Serpent and N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn. In addition to the unfamiliarities and adjustments that might be expected to arise between a primitive native culture and an industrialized urban culture, these novels suggest that individuals in cultural conflict may also be struggling with fundamental spiritual questions
…show more content…
From the start, both novels express strong dissatisfaction with European-American industrialized society. Native American Abel can't get his life established and on track in a white world of machines and processes that are separated from nature. Kate, who has been comfortable in the modern world all her life, has now become thoroughly disgusted with pretentious and predictable European-American customs and manners. There is a strong sense of oppression felt by the natives in both novels, which creates an atmosphere of resentment and antagonism against the dominant culture. Fear and retribution is pervasive, finding expression in Abel's friend who has fantasies of slaughtering a wagon train of whites, and also in the dark, seething eyes of the Mexican natives. Both authors also suggest that the mental-spiritual life of the white race is sterile and withering. Abel and Kate, two people living in the borderland between two cultures, are feeling the tension and are in serious need of something new, something different.

That "something" definitely isn't Christianity. A second point of agreement between these novels is that there is no meaningful spiritual support to be found in the Christian Church, and Christian traditions are &-eept-as either rejected outright or only superficially observed. When not actually attending a church service or interacting with its priests, the native peoples of Mexico are depicted by Lawrence as secretly and

Related Documents