In paragraph 14 of the Introduction, what does the cricket refer to?
This is a subject open to good discussion. When the author looks at the full moon, within his line of sight is a cricket, too. For a moment, it looks as if the cricket has been placed in or on the white disc and is filling up the moon. (If your copy of the book is illustrated, you may see an artist’s interpretation of this sight.) Momaday says:
It had gone there, I thought, to live and die, for there, of all places, was its small definition made whole and eternal.
He considers the moon as an idea of heaven or as a symbol of eternal life. He thinks also of the importance of all creatures and to all parts of Nature; for something even as small as a cricket is just as welcomed into that higher life as a human being would be. The cricket is a stand-in here for the variety of life on the planet. This quick encounter makes a positive impression and provides reassurance to Momaday. It suggests that he is connected both to the nearby natural world and to the larger Universe as well.