In the Prologue, Momaday says that “In one sense, then, the way to Rainy Mountain is preeminently the history of an idea, man’s idea of himself, and it has old and essential being in language.” What does the author mean?

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Momaday is suggesting that the story his book will tell is not, in any conventional sense, a “history” of the Kiowa, but instead a kind of spiritual history. The “idea” he is giving the history of is the idea of cultural identity. In the case of the Kiowa, this history involves certain real events, like their migration into the Plains and their eventual surrender, but it also involves their mythic and spiritual history (such as their entrance into the world through a hollow log, or the coming of their god/protector Tai-me).

The other part of his statement has to do with language and the oral tradition...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 319 words.)

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