A Critical Analysis of “My Kiowa Grandmother, ” and “Take My Saddle from the Wall: a Valediction”

1806 Words Nov 19th, 2012 8 Pages
A Critical Analysis of “My Kiowa Grandmother,” and
“Take My Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction”

A Critical Analysis of “My Kiowa Grandmother,” and
“Take My Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction”
The essays, “My Kiowa Grandmother,” by N. Scott Momaday and “Take My Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction,” by Larry McMurtry, both seek to understand the values and traditions of an old way of life that has been lost to the trials and tribulations of time. By reaching back into history through their families, both authors achieve the same effect, while using starkly contrasting narrative structure; they show the characteristics that have been lost to younger generations.
The purpose of N. Scott Momaday’s essay, “My Kiowa Grandmother,” is
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McMurtry creates a story about his family, based on their accounts left to him in memoirs and letters throughout the years. McMurtry’s ultimate purpose is to narrate an expressive literary essay that uses humor and drama to attract the attention of the reader. While discussing cowboys and their straightforward wisdom, he concludes that cowboys’ observations turn into aphorisms. One such aphorism he finds particularly appealing is as follows: “A woman’s love is like the morning dew, it’s just as likely to fall on a horseturd as on a rose” (149). McMurtry also includes a great deal of drama and suspense as well. At one point, he recalls his grandfather’s troublesome drinking; one day his grandmother issued an ultimatum, sober up or she would leave him. “The threat was undoubtedly made in earnest, and he took it so immediately to heart that he stopped drinking then and there, with a jug half full of whiskey hanging in the saddle room of the barn” (143).
Additionally, a substantial difference between the two essays is the author’s view of their ancestors. McMurtry admits that he “never considered genealogy much of an aid to recognition, and thus never pursued [his] lineage any distance at all” (143). On the other hand, Momaday is very curious of his lineage. So curious in fact that he actually sets out on a “fifteen hundred [mile]… pilgrimage” (289) to see where his ancestors began their journey onto the plains. Momaday describes his ancestors as people of the

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