The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday
- Method of Obtaining: I opurchased my copy.
- Published by: University of New Mexico Press
- Release Date: 9/1/1976
“The stories in “The Way to Rainy Mountain” are told in three voices. The first voice is the voice of my father, the ancestral voice, and the voice of the Kiowa oral tradition. The second is the voice of historical commentary. And the third is that of personal reminiscence, my own voice. There is a turning and returning of myth, history, and memoir throughout, a narrative wheel that is as sacred as language itself.”
- Required reading for my Non-Western Literature course
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I was introduced to N. Scott Momaday’s unique book in a class this semester where we discussed the overlying themes and message of The Way to Rainy Mountain.
Told in a three part process through myth, historical, and personal journey, Momaday relates the oral traditions and his own connection to the Kiowa people. They journeyed from Montana to their final settlement in Oklahoma over centuries of time, and in three sections (not counting the beautiful introduction and epilogue), he recounts their origin stories, the passing movement of the tribe, and finally the narrowing of the culture as it was eliminated through the diecide of the Tai-me.
This is a deceptively small book, filled with quite a bit of white space, but do not let it fool you. It’s rich in message, history, and myth – recording oral tradition that, before, was just one generation away from dying. And even then, it’s a fragment of what could, if not already has been, be lost.
I’ve read this book three times, the first in a linear fashion – myth to myth, historical to historical, personal to personal. The second in the way it is written, horizontally. And the last way thoughtfully, drawing connections throughout the book, tracing themes, investigating ideas, researching as I went. I recommend all of these ways in order to attempt to understand all of the importance of Momaday’s message.
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