The “Way” to Rainy Mountain Essay

Q: In many ways, Momaday is writing a memoir of a people, the Kiowas, not just himself or his grandmother. How does he use events from his own life and his grandmother’s life as a lens through which he can talk about the Kiowas?

Momaday star his book by familiarizing the reader with facts about Kiowas’s past. Momaday tell of how the Kiowa migrated in the early 18th century. In the course of that long migration (the Kiowa) had come of age as a people. They had conceived a good idea of themselves; they had dared to imagine and determine who they were…(therefore,) the way to Rainy Mountain is preeminently the history of an idea, men’s idea of himself (Rainy Mountain 4)

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Momaday uses memories, cultural stories and flashbacks, combining his own experiences to bring together a journey of mind and body: Momaday presents three different “vision” of the Kiowa experience which are the “Kiowa” the “historical” and the “personal.” The Kiowa vision is composed by myths passed down to Momaday in tradition from relative nad other “tribespople” these myths are colorful and imaginative of the creators. But the Kiowa myth brings out the cultural value system: the sun the horse and the buffalo elements fundamental to sustain their lives.

The “historical” give the reader another perspective from which to view the Kiowa experience. Finally “vision” Momaday brings his own personal vision, his memories and his imagination. For example he grow up among the Pueblo Indians, but also felt as if he belonged to the Kiowa culture because they were his grandmother’s people. His discovery of their belief gave Momaday information about himself and his family choices.