What two things might the houses described in The Way to Rainy Mountain symbolize?

The houses described in The Way to Rainy Mountain can symbolize many things, but two examples are the human body and the Kiowa heritage. The author personifies these houses by describing them as vessels that both age and seem colorless without souls to inhabit them. On the other hand, these empty homes also take on the characteristics of those that lived in them, so they represent the Kiowa culture as well.

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Sometimes the image of a house can be used as a metaphor for the human body. For instance: Have you ever heard of an older person with white hair being described as having “snow on the roof?” This connection was popularized in gospel music by Stuart Hamblen’s song “This Ole House,” released in 1954. In the lyrics, the singer approaches death with joy by knowing that he will no longer need his aging physical body, which is in need of repair, when his spirit goes to heaven. While this song has no Native American connections, its basic premise could be applied to Momaday’s house references.

Other educators have shown here that the houses illustrate the strong links the Kiowa had to nature and, more specifically, to the landscape of the Great Plains. Let’s look at the description again; and this time, think of the houses as the actual bodies of the Kiowa. They age, too.

Houses are like sentinels in the plain, old keepers of the weather watch. There, in a very little while, wood...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 746 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 31, 2020