Learning About One's Tribe In The "The Way To Rainy Mountain"

981 words - 4 pages

The Way to Rainy Mountain is by no means a normal novel. It does not have the same cookie cutter formation as most books, where the plot goes from beginning to end in neat little chapters. It is not just a simple book, it is a book that has meaning, and it is a book that makes its readers think. It is a book about connections from the past. These connections are like puzzle pieces that the main character, N. Scott Momaday, has to put together in his journey to truly understand his heritage. Through the past, Momaday finds a way to honor his grandmother’s memory and to connect with his Kiowa culture. The past comes in many different forms; it could be the way distant past spanning hundreds of years ago or simply just a minute ago. Momaday uses the past to complete his journey and add to the meaning of the book as a whole; this past includes the history of the Kiowa people, the memory of his grandmother, and his own childhood memories.
The history of the Kiowa people comes in two forms, the facts about the tribe, and also the myths and legends that have been passed down from generation to generation. This history is a part of Momaday's culture; it is a part of him and it is a really important part of the book. Every culture had a beginning, a place of origin, and eventually everything has an ending as well. The Kiowas had both of these, they had a past filled with different events, some were happy and some were sad, but all of them were part of the culture that they created. Rainy Mountain is part of this history, and it is essentially the most important place for the Kiowas. This mountain or knoll is located on the plains of Oklahoma. This land is described by Momaday like so, “To look upon the landscape in the early morning, with the sun at your back, is to lose the sense of proportion. Your imagination comes to life, and this, you think, is where Creation was begun” (Momaday 5). This Mountain is where much happiness and contentment was felt for the Kiowas, it is where Momaday’s origins began, and it is the place where tragedy struck the tribe. This tragedy came in the form of soldiers. One example of this is when the Kiowas were going to perform a ceremonial Sundance, “Before the dance could begin, a company of soldiers rode out from Fort Sill under orders to disperse the tribe” (Momaday 10). These soldiers ripped the Kiowas of their land and eventually placed them in reservations. This is where Momaday grew up, and this is where the barrier between the older generation and the younger generation began. This history of the Kiowa culture is a very important part of the novel because it explains where the gap between generations began, and in Momaday’s point of view, it explains the gap...

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