What are the strategies writers use to evoke periods and time? Identify the strategies the author uses in The Way to Rainy Mountain.

Among the strategies writers use to evoke historical periods and the passage of time are detailed physical description, authentic dialogue, and comparison of past and present.

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Writers use various types of strategy to evoke both different time periods and the passage of time. One of the commonest is physical description of the details of life in the era described. The writer focuses on the way people dressed, furnished their homes, moved, and talked in that era.

Another strategy is to use dialogue to establish the way in which people spoke and their major concerns. Writers will often employ news items and talking points that were current at the time, as well as turns of phrase and common social attitudes they have encountered in researching the period.

Another common strategy is to use contrast, when different time periods are being compared, which is a way of writing which generally incorporates both the approaches outlined above. This is one of Momaday's chief methods in The Way to Rainy Mountain, as he compares the world in which his grandmother grew up to the one through which he is traveling. Momaday also uses his own memories to reinforce these differences between past and present, looking back to his own childhood, when his grandmother's world was still partly intact:

The aged visitors who came to my grandmother's house when I was a child were made of lean and leather, and they bore themselves upright. They wore great black hats and bright ample shirts that shook in the wind. They rubbed fat upon their hair and wound their braids with strips of colored cloth. Some of them painted their faces and carried the scars of old and cherished enmities. They were an old council of warlords, come to remind and be reminded of who they were.

Here, Momaday evokes both the past and the passage of time, focusing on the dress, customs, and implied attitudes of the Kiowa people which had remained approximately constant for generations but then eroded rapidly over his own lifetime.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 23, 2020
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