The Way to Rainy Mountain | Study Guide

N. Scott Momaday

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Course Hero. "The Way to Rainy Mountain Study Guide." Course Hero. 22 Mar. 2018. Web. 24 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Way-to-Rainy-Mountain/>.

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Course Hero. (2018, March 22). The Way to Rainy Mountain Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Way-to-Rainy-Mountain/

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Course Hero. "The Way to Rainy Mountain Study Guide." March 22, 2018. Accessed September 24, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Way-to-Rainy-Mountain/.

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Course Hero, "The Way to Rainy Mountain Study Guide," March 22, 2018, accessed September 24, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Way-to-Rainy-Mountain/.

The Way to Rainy Mountain | Chapter 22 : The Closing In | Summary

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Summary

The ancestral paragraph is a story of when Mammedaty got angry at a horse. It was causing "trouble" as he tried to get the horses out of the pasture, so he got his bow and arrow to shoot it. However, "the arrow went deep into the neck of the second horse." The historical paragraph tells of how a Pawnee captive escaped in the winter of 1852–53 and stole a "fine hunting horse" called "Little Red." Then the author recalls a "box of bones" he used to look at in the barn. The bones were later stolen. Mammedaty had claimed the bones were of a horse called "Little Red" that had "never lost a race." At times, the author has "thought [he] understood" how a person could "be moved to preserve the bones of a horse—and another to steal them away." On the next page, the line "the arrow went deep into the neck" is repeated next to an illustration of a horse being shot by an arrow.

Analysis

Mammedaty, the figure in both the ancestral voice and the personal history, here becomes humanized. He was a peyote man, and he saw remarkable things. However, he had a flaw—a temper—and this story shows an instance in which this flaw led him to make a mistake. This sense of fallibility stands out in the context of a book in which elder figures are almost always wise and just. Mammedaty was different from other Kiowa elders, and Mammedaty's grandmother was different from other Kiowa women. Notably, both are related to the author.

Interestingly, this particular segment features an inconsistency. The horse—"Little Red"—was stolen by the Pawnee boy, and yet the horse's bones are in the barn in a box. There is a gap, here, an untold story. The answer may be found in the theft of the bones—the bones of a horse that had also been stolen from the Kiowa people. The author says, "There have been times when I thought I understood," perhaps meaning there is something here he does not understand. The search for knowledge, for understanding, is the point of a quest, and Momaday positions the book as a quest for understanding.

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