The Way to Rainy Mountain | Study Guide

N. Scott Momaday

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The Way to Rainy Mountain | Chapter 14 : The Going On | Summary



The section begins by noting "the Kiowa language is hard to understand" but that "the storm spirit understands it." It relates the story of when the "Kiowas decided to make a horse," but the animal was fierce and terrible. It created a wind that "grew up and carried everything away," and eventually it calmed. Kiowas know when clouds gather, it is "a strange wild animal [that] roams the sky." However, "they are not afraid of Man-ka-ih, for it understands their language." The historical paragraph notes only that the plains can be calm or "black with the sudden violence of weather." The personal paragraph tells of a storm cellar near Momaday's grandmother's house. He remembers one time when "the whole land at night" lit up with lightning. On the following pages, the line "whipping and thrashing on the air" from the story is repeated, next to an illustration of the horse-like Man-ka-ih.


The three paragraphs collectively tell lore, history, and recollections of prairie weather. The illustration further realizes these details. The reader might also note the monster that makes the wind that "carried everything away" is of the same shape as the creature that gave the Kiowa freedom to move and to hunt so well: the horse. While the mythic creature, as seen in the illustration, is not exactly equine, it is more horse-like than not. The application of the familiar, the horse, to the supernatural explanation of the weather of the Great Plains adds realism to the myth.

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