What two things might the houses described in The Way to Rainy Mountain symbolize?
The descriptions of the houses in this exciting piece of literature are very fascinating, especially given the way that there is an obvious similarity between the houses on the plain and the plain itself and the methods used to describe them. Consider the following example, which is clearly richly symbolic in the way the houses are presented:
Houses are like sentinels in teh plain, old keepers of the weather watch. There, in a very little while, wood takes on the appearance of great age. All colours wear soon away in the wind and rain, and then the wood is burned grey and the grain appears and the nails turn red with rust. The windowpanes are black and opaque; you imagine there is nothing within, and indeed there are many ghosts, bones given up to the land. They stand here and there against the sky, and you approach them for a longer time than you expect. They belong in the distance; it is their domain.
Note the way that this description is similar to that given of the plains in the way that both comment on distance and isolation, the past, and the importance of living in union with nature. Thus we can say that the houses in this text are symbolic of the deep, intimate connection that the Kiowa had with nature, and the way that they symbolise the isolated kind of lives that the Kiowa followed.