Learning about One's Tribe in the "The Way to Rainy Mountain"

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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 …show more content…
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 between him and his grandmother. Momaday’s grandmother was part of the last generation of the Kiowas that were in a sense traditional. Her generation experienced the true Kiowa customs and language. When Momaday’s grandmother died, all he had left was her memory and the wisdom that she left embedded in his mind. Upon returning to his grandmother’s house Momaday stated, “Now there is a funeral silence in the rooms, the endless wake of some final word” (Momaday 12). This event is what brought Momaday back to his origins; it is what started his journey to bridge the gap between his grandmother and himself. His
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