This project examines the presence of narrative agency in literature by Native American Authors. The discourse surrounding "Native American Literature" is fraught with problematic assumptions regarding the meaning and purpose of the texts. Scholars often project an exclusively indigenous meaning onto works by American Indians, assuming their content and style to be directly representative of their authors' cultural heritage. In my project, I analyze Dead Voices by Gerald Vizenor, Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, as well as In the Presence of the Sun and The Way to Rainy Moutain by N Scott Momaday, identifying instances in which characters use stories and speech to influence change. Representations of narrative agency across these novels illustrate ways in which storytelling can be used--to confront oppression directly, form bonds with the past and facilitate action in the present, to create and redefine realities, and ultimately to empower the storyteller to reclaim control of their own story from the hands of outside forces, or even the reader herself.


Aguilar, Joseph




Indigenous Studies | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority | Modern Literature | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Reading and Language


Native American Literature, narrative agency, Vizenor, Silko, Momaday, postcolonial, hybridity

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Audrey G. Platt