Why is language, especially spoken language, considered important to the author?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Way to Rainy Mountain is a work with a central theme of storytelling. In fact, it has been considered by many academics as a perfectly suitable starting point when attempting to understand the history of the Kiowa people, an indigenous tribe of the American Great Plains. Some of the most primary sections of the book are myth and folklore revolving around the Kiowa people. In this sense, it should go without saying that words and spoken language would be profoundly important to Momaday, who is said to have written the book as an exercise of reconnecting with his heritage.

As a fairly accomplished poet, Momaday already had a profound connection and appreciation for the power of words and language before writing The Way to Rainy Mountain. For the Kiowa of old, however, spoken language was the primary method for passing down information and therefore for survival. In the sections of the book that respond to myths and histories from his point of view, Momaday asserts that language is not just a method for communicating and understanding, but for creating and even for fighting. There are several facets of the human experience that only exist because of language. In the modern day, we have many other means of communication should language fail. For the Kiowa, however, spoken language was the primary method by which they communicated their entire culture. It was as important to them as water.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 10, 2020
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial