Past Experiences Of Ancestors In N. Scott Momaday's "The Way To Rainy Mountain"

1270 words - 5 pages

The Way to Rainy Mountain was written in 1969 by Pulitzer Prize winning author N. Scott Momaday. The novel is about Scott Momaday's Kiowa ancestors and their journey from the Montana area to Fort Sill near Rainy Mountain, Oklahoma, where their surrender to the United States Cavalry took place. In The Way to Rainy Mountain, Momaday traces his ancestral roots back to the beginning of the Kiowa tribe while not only learning more about the Kiowa people but rediscovering himself and finding out what his true identity is. The death of his grandmother prompts Momaday to dig deeper into the background of his family. To better help him become closer with his ancestral roots, Momaday returns to Rainy Mountain to visit his recently deceased grandmother’s grave where the spirit of the Kiowa tribe was thought to be very strong. Scott Momaday’s grandmother was believed to be the last of the Kiowa’s; with her death came the death of the Kiowa culture. Momaday wouldn’t let such a spiritual people who meant so much to him be forgotten so he created The Way to Rainy Mountain with this motivation. As Momaday works through each of the Kiowa’s mythical stories, he begins to learn a lot about his ancestors and, in turn, about himself. After reading the novel, it is evident to the reader that from beginning to end, Momaday has grown tremendously and has an increased sense of knowledge and appreciation for his Kiowa ancestors and their spiritual way of life. While Scott Momaday’s was creating his world renowned novel, The Way to Rainy Mountain, his relationship with past events greatly contributed to the overall meaning of the book in three major ways. During the novel, Momaday uses his recollections of the past to help understand Kiowa myths and to guide the books overall meaning.
For Scott Momaday and his Kiowa ancestors, life was filled with many hardships. Momaday remembers hearing many stories about the Kiowas past hardships in their journey to Rainy Mountain including how the were driven from their own land and kicked away from the medicine tree by the same U.S. Cavalry who captured and imprisoned them at Fort Sill. Momaday also recalls stories of a fellow Native American tribe, The Crows, befriending them and also how the buffalo became scarce. Probably one of their most difficult times during their existence was surviving the weather of Rainy Mountain itself, which consisted of winter blizzards, spring tornados, and summer droughts and fires. “For the Kiowas the beginning was a struggle for existence in the bleak northern mountains.”(Momaday, 3) Learning of all these hardships that the Kiowas underwent really taught him not to take anything for granted. Momaday has come to appreciates nature and life much more thanks to the rough life that his ancestors have had to endure over the last few centuries. “When the wild herds were destroyed, so to was the will of the Kiowa people; there was nothing to sustain them in spirit.”(Momaday, 3) Because...

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