Analysis Of N. Scott Momaday's The Way To Rainy Mountain

995 words - 4 pages

Analysis of N. Scott Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain

The Way to Rainy Mountain has a distinct pattern in its form.  In each section, it has three parts, each of whose separateness is clearly marked by its own place in each page and its own typeface: the legend, the history, and the personal memory.  The pattern, however, never makes it simple for the readers to understand the novel.  Rather, it confuses and bothers the readers by placing them where the double edges of reality meet.  On the one hand, there is a reality as the result of the dominant ideology, which has become a priori in many cases, and which has hidden that there is another reality (or possibly, multiple ...view middle of the document...

  In the middle of "nothing but the land itself," he begins to see the smallest things, each of which "has perfect being in terms of distance and of silence and of age." Then, he confirms that he sees the earth as it "really" is.   The "real" things that he sees can be distant, silenced, or aged like the stories he has heard from his grandmother.  Yet, they are real.  He places himself as a seeker of the memories, most of which have been ignored by the official history and forgotten in cultural inappreciation.  He also shows an individual account of the collective memory, which is represented by the legend.  The legend tells how they came out into the world through a hollow log; if it is telling about the collective struggle to come out upon the Great Plains, the narrator's experience of coming out upon the plain may represent how an individual Kiowa might have felt when they saw the plain first time.

      In the eighth section, the narrator recollects how his grandmother used to say, "zei-dl-bei," in the face of "evil and the incomprehensible."  The narrator extends the personal memory to the generalization of the power of language, in which the themes of the three accounts can be closely connected. He interprets the grandmother's act as "an exertion of language upon ignorance and disorder," which is reverberating what is said in the second part: "A word has power in and of itself.... It gives origin to all things. " The legend, in which twins could escape from a danger because of the power of language, provides a mythical background to his grandmother's cultural act.  The three accounts of memory are intermingled and enrich one another's significance.

      Section XI presents an interesting intervention of the legend into the personal memory.  The narrator is retelling his grandfather - a man who "saw things that other men do not see" - Mammedaty's story...

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