The Way to Rainy Mountain | Study Guide

N. Scott Momaday

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The Way to Rainy Mountain | Chapter 23 : The Closing In | Summary



The ancestral paragraph is of Aho, the author's grandmother, who recalls a "strange thing." While visiting the wife of the keeper of Tai-me, Aho and the woman "heard an awful noise, as if a tree ... had fallen." Tai-me had fallen, and they did not know how or why. The historical paragraph notes "Mammedaty wore one of the grandmother bundles." According to Aho, "If anyone who wore a medicine bundle failed to show it the proper respect," it became heavy. In the personal paragraph, the author remembers a heavy iron kettle that "was always there" and "rang like a bell when you struck it." It was used to collect rainwater for washing hair.


The blending of ancestral, historical, and personal voices continues in this segment. Further, this segment also contains an event the author does not understand, the falling of Tai-me to the floor. These segments ease the reader toward the conclusion. Momaday is recalling his grandmother, the woman whose death has led to this journey of inquiry and his attempts to know the ancestral voices and history of his people, his family, and the land. The book began with a creation myth about the origin of the Kiowa people. It is closing with memories without answers.

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