The Way to Rainy Mountain | Study Guide

N. Scott Momaday

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The Way to Rainy Mountain | Chapter 10 : The Setting Out | Summary



Here, finally, is the story of Tai-me. A man was wandering for days seeking food. Weakened, he came upon a canyon and heard a voice: "Take me with you ... and I will give you whatever you want." In the legend, "the thing standing before him had the feet of a deer, and its body was covered with feathers." This was Tai-me. The historical paragraph describes Tai-me in great detail. It is a small image ("less than 2 feet in length"), and it is not shown other than at the annual Sun Dance. The final paragraph describes the author's recollection of going with his father and grandmother to see the "Tai-me bundle." He recalls a "great holiness" surrounding it.


The information on the "Tai-me bundle" appears in several of Momaday's works, including his novel House Made of Dawn and a text specifically about Tai-me. This religious object received special consideration (for example, only being shown at the Sun Dance) partly because of the regard it was given by the tribe. The historical paragraph says the bundle was last shown in 1888, but that after Momaday wrote this note. For the author to see it, the bundle must have begun to be shown again.

Here, as in some earlier segments, the fluidity of the three voices is apparent. The legend of the acquisition of Tai-me is told in the ancestral voice; the object is described in the historical voice. The final voice, the personal, tells of the author's sole interaction with the figure. In all three, Tai-me is at the center. This is reflected in the book's structure: this segment occurs near the middle of the book.

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