The Man to Send Rainclouds

by Leslie Marmon Silko

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What is the rising action and climax of "The Man to Send Rainclouds"?

The rising action in "The Man to Send Rainclouds" begins as Leon and Ken discover the dead body of Teofilo. The climax occurs when Father Paul sprinkles holy water on the body.

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Leon and Ken discover Teofilo dead under a tree. After tending to the sheep, Leon ties a feather in the old man's hair and paints his face according to their customs. They prepare the body in the hopes that Teofilo will send rain clouds. The rising action begins as they encounter the priest. At first, they do not tell the priest that Teofilo is dead. Father Paul learns of the old man's death when Leon asks him to sprinkle holy water on the body. Father Paul at first denies this request, because he feels he should have been allowed to perform the Last Rites. Eventually, Father Paul concedes. The climax of the story occurs when Father Paul sprinkles the holy water upon the blanket-covered body. Leon feels that after the sprinkling of the holy water, "the old man could send them big thunderclouds for sure."

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Though Silko's story is very short, a lot happens and is implied.  The two young Native American men, Leon and Ken, find the old man, Teofolio, dead under a tree.  The rising action is the appearance of the Roman Catholic priest, who will challenge both implicitly and complicitly, the ancient death rituals.  The climax occurs when the priest agrees to sanction the death by sprinkling Teofolio's body with holy water, even though his tribe has prepared him for burial in the traditional ways...painting his face, facing him the proper direction, etc.

This blending of the new and the old gives Ken, Leon, and the tribe comfort that one of their own has been admitted into heaven by whatever means necessary. 

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