The Way to Rainy Mountain

by N. Scott Momaday

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Name three activities that Momaday recalls as he thinks about his grandmother’s house in The Way to Rainy Mountain.

As N. Scott Momaday thinks of his grandmother and her house, he recalls her cooking at her wood stove, sitting at the window with her bead-work, and praying. He also recalls the visitors who would come to his grandmother's house for “feasting and talk.”

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N. Scott Momaday begins The Way to Rainy Mountain with a reflection about his grandmother. She was part of the Kiowa people and lived her whole life “in the shadow of Rainy Mountain.” She knew the landscape well, and it was part of her. She also greatly revered the traditions of her people, and even though she became a Christian, she still remembered the old ways and “never forgot her birthright.” She had seen the Sun Dances and taken part in the old rituals of the people. She always remembered.

When Momaday thinks of his grandmother in her home, he sees her “in the several postures that were peculiar to her.” He recalls how she would stand at her wood stove, cooking meat in “a great iron skillet” on a winter morning. He remembers how she would sit “at the south window” doing her bead-work or looking out across the field.

Momaday also recalls his grandmother's prayers. This is how he would see her most often. She would pray in both “suffering and hope,” pouring out her heart before God, standing beside her bed with her hair flowing down. Since Momaday does not speak Kiowa, he never understood his grandmother's prayers, but he felt their sorrow and their intensity. His grandmother seemed to be “beyond the reach of time” when she prayed.

Further, Momaday remembers the “coming and going, feasting and talk” of his grandmother's house. It was a place of “excitement and reunion.” There were many “aged visitors” who looked like old leather but held themselves proudly upright. These visitors talked and gestured, cooked and ate, prayed and feasted, laughed and sang.

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