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The Way To Rainy Mountain Literary Analysis

1430 words - 6 pages

In The Way to Rainy Mountain, the author Scott Momaday uses the theme of a journey to drive this story. He begins his journey after the passing of his grandmother, the journey to reconnect and rediscover his own culture. He shares this moment on page 10, “I remember her most often in prayer. She made long, rambling prayers out of suffering and hope, having seen many things…the last time I saw her she prayed standing by the side of her bed at night, naked to the waist, the light of a kerosene lamp moving upon her dark skin…I do not speak Kiowa, and I never understood her prayers, but there was something inherently sad in the sound, some merest hesitation upon the syllables of sorrow”. The ...view middle of the document...

He illustrates more in a story he shares on page 14. The story is of a clay horse constructed by the tribe. Then the horse took shape with a ‘head of a horse and a tail of a great fish’ and became a great storm. However the tribe was not afraid and simply spoke ‘pass over me’ and the storm did. This story seems to be a creation of weather story, but there is so much hidden meaning in this story. I think one of the main themes is that there is an end to every storm and the sun is still going to rise in the morning. Another could be that if you believe in something and have faith, things will always work out. Words are a big concept in a lot of the authors’ stories. Words take the shapes of arrows in the story of the couple late night inside of their teepee. Words can also be seen as the author connecting the Kiowa language. He is trying to explain that there is power behind the Kiowa language and that it is vital to keep. This also ties to the theme that language makes up a part of who you are.
Momaday believes that, in addition to language, your land defines you. The title “Way to Rainy Mountain” has great meaning as well. It could refer to the uphill route the tribe took to be at their current place. “You could see far and wide even at night, by the light of the moon; there was nothing to stand in your way. And when the season turned and it was necessary to move back into the house, there was a sense of confinement and depression for a time”(Momaday 61). This quote I believe is Momaday connecting to his land on a personal level. He is making a comparison between himself and his surroundings and is showing where his identity comes from.
One aspect I’ve noticed from the book is the theme of women. Other than the introduction of his grandmother, women are not mentioned often in the book. The story on page 58 tells of a ‘bad women’ who basically tricks and leaves her husband. In the historical section he explains “In the Kiowa calendars there is graphic proof that the lives of women were hard, whether they were ‘bad women’ or not. Only the captives, who were slaves, held lower status”(Momaday 59). But, it is not until the personal reflection where Momaday mentions Mammedaty’s grandmother in this. Could he be referring his grandmother to be bad or unfaithful? Why not use this opportunity to insert Momaday’s grandmother as well? The author only mentions that she was frowned upon after “she would not play the part of a Kiowa woman”(Momaday 59). On page 82 the story tells: “But her grave is unmarked. She was buried in a cabinet, and she wore a beautiful dress”. This excerpt is a form of symbolism. The buried woman refers to his culture. This is the last story and represents the end. The culture may now be dead and buried, but it is still accessible through stories and imagination. “… the Kiowas were living the last great...

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