Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain: Summary
N. Scott Momaday divides his book The Way to Rainy Mountain in an interesting manner. The book is divided into three chapters, each of which contains a dozen or so numbered sections, each of which is divided into three parts. The first part of each numbered section tends to be a legend or a story of the Kiowa culture. However, this characteristic changes a bit as the book evolves, as does the style and feel of the stories.
The first passage in the first numbered section describes the Kiowa creation myth. It tells that they came into the world through a hollow log. The next ones tell of a dog saving the life of a man, the story of how Tai-me became part of their culture, and other stories. These, especially in the first beginning of the first part, are stories which relate timeless tales. The events described took place long ago, though nobody knows how long. In addition, the endings of the tales would probably be described as having a good outcome. The people were created and they found friends in the physical and spiritual world. The first part of the book describes the beginning of the Kiowa culture and their development.
Towards the end of the first part, the tone of the stories changes. Instead of describing different stories each time, they begin to tell a story which continues through six numbered sections. The story relates the life of a baby who grows into the sun's wife who then has a ·child who becomes two children, who become honored people in the eyes of the Kiowa. These stories do not explain things like the creation of the people, or the reason dogs and men are friends, or the origin of Tai-me. They tell what happened to some people.
The last part of the book, the last third, is mostly narrative. Instead of telling myths to explain things, Momaday tells stories which relate events without any significant outcome. Also, in contrast to the first part of the book, the outcomes seem to be bad...
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