The Way to Rainy Mountain Essay Example

Momaday’s Story 4

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Momaday’s story presents the journey of the Kiowa people from their ancient settlement in the Montana area to the United States cavalry at fort sill and final settlement near rainy mountain in Oklahoma. The story is basically a sequence of tales, historical accounts and personal childhood memories. The storyteller uses oral traditions such as the origin of the Kiowa people, their culture, social and religious life.

The writer uses the four seasons to present four aspects created through space and time such as what exists in myths and legends, social structures, religious practices and the characteristics of a contemporary life.

The myths and legends as illustrated by the writer shows a universal human experience, the intervention of supernatural powers such as gods and tradition as tribal wisdom that is passed from generation to generation. It further reveals the sacred events that originate from myths and ordinary realities. Moreover, the legends and myths the origin of the society in relation to human experiences and the much respected supernatural beings such as the Tei- Me and the Sun Dance rituals. It highlights a systematic pattern of acquisition, practice and the death of the Kiowa culture. (Roemer,1988).

The story explores the revolutionary process of a society that the writer comes from. The cumulative process that illustrates chronologically and the geographical changes condense the periods of the Kiowa people in regards to origin, migration process, and the weather patterns.

The migration experience highlights other societies’ influence on the cultural and social borrowing. Therefore, tribal origins and migration patterns influence the society’s cultural endowments at present. The religion practices were borrowed from the Crows with the entire system of worship.

Through the description highlighting the means of survival, the writer presents a society full of adventure and independence through the heroic feats, methods of outwitting enemies and the techniques of dealing with threats to the social order. Communal unity makes the society victorious.

The writer vividly identifies historical events and trends by stating specific dates, events and names of both people and places. The specificity proves the customary practices, social structures and rituals carried out during those times in history. This further gives the Kiowa community a real sense of identity.

Personal experiences and memories are a major perspective of the author. He presents a personal vision as a Kiowa society member, expresses childhood memories and sensory impressions of the entire Kiowa culture. He portrays family members through an individual; his grandmother.

According to Roemer (1988), the writer therefore merges the historical, cultural and personal modes of behaviour of a society through a personal perspective. The Kiowa spirituality, historical past and the natural world are related as presented by the author. He observes the natural world, people and places which evoke memories which he presents to his audience through language.

Generally, the story is the author’s own observation from when he retraced the long journey to Rainy Mountain that his ancestors had undertaken; chronologically illustrating their experiences, climatic conditions and the geographical features.


Momaday, N. (1969). The Way to Rainy Mountain. University of New Mexico Press: NewMexico.

Roemer, K. (1988). Approaches to Teaching Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain. Modern

Language Association: New York.