Analysis of Navarre Scott Momaday's 'The Way to Rainy Mountain'
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Literary analysis: The Way to Rainy Mountain, N. Scott Momaday
Novarre Scott Momaday's book The Way to Rainy Mountain is both a personal and anthropological exploration of the ways of the Kiowa Indian tribe. Momaday was raised on a Navajo Reservation, but was educated within the 'white' university system, where he first gained a reputation as a poet. His work straddles the borders of the genre of autobiography and ethnography. The book is the story of a tribe, a chronicle of both history and myth. "There are on the way to Rainy Mountain, many landmarks, many journeys in the one" (Momaday 4). Although about a people whose lives have been displaced and forever changed as a result of colonialization, the book functions less as a political critique and polemic and more as an internal spiritual journey. "Rather, it describes a process: a people, one person and one family at a time, preserves essential aspects of its heritage, connects through imagination to that heritage, and in so doing, assures its survival" (Charles 66).
Momaday's book collapses conventional divides between myth and history: by fusing the two he suggests that the conventional white conception of history as an enclosed and protected category is inherently suspect, and without speaking of politics makes a claim for other, equally valuable ways of knowing. However, in this sense his method of storytelling is political, because he suggests that the Indian ways of interpreting experience are just as valid as