The Way to Rainy Mountain | Study Guide

N. Scott Momaday

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The Way to Rainy Mountain | Chapter 4 : The Setting Out | Summary



The ancestral voices section is a long paragraph this time. It tells of a man and his wife who had a "beautiful child." The child was pursuing a redbird, and the tree grew so that the child climbed into the sky. Now a woman, she was made the wife of the sun. In the historical paragraph, the "land itself ascends into the sky" and the mountains have "wilderness names." The personal section notes the author has "walked in a mountain meadow" where he has seen wildflowers and trees. Poetically, he notes the branches "seemed very slowly to ride across the blue sky."


Here begins the telling of a longer tale. The sun, his stolen wife, their child—these details are spread over several segments. This allows the author to slowly reveal the legend. The structure he has chosen for The Way to Rainy Mountain does not only highlight the fluidity between ancestral voice, personal recollection, and history. It also enables him to function as a talented storyteller, methodically unraveling the tale over a series of segments.

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