The Way to Rainy Mountain Questions and Answers
by N. Scott Momaday

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What is the most important metaphor in The Way to Rainy Mountain?

One important metaphor in The Way to Rainy Mountain is the Rainy Mountain itself, which can be understood as a representation of the protagonist's journey and a metaphor for the Kiowa culture. Another important metaphor is the character of the grandmother, who represents the cycle of life and creativity.

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Each reader is likely to interpret N. Scott Momaday’s book in a different way, but one central metaphor one could look at is the grandmother. While Momaday incorporates the organizing principles of the hero within the existence of a quest and the adventures of travel, the grandmother is distinct because she represents family, the larger family-like Kiowa community, creativity, and the cycle of life. Grandmother and grandfather are synonyms for ancestors as well as terms that designate relationships between specific individuals of different generations.

Trying to figure out the significance of his grandmother’s life, actions, and stories is the catalyst that takes Momaday on the journey into his own family’s past and into Kiowa culture. The experiences she rememberssuch as the Sun Dance that was later banned and her creative reconfigurations of the mythic past are both significant contributions that she makes and that stand for Kiowa creativity. The severe rupture that came with...

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