The Way to Rainy Mountain N. Scott Momaday
TONIGHT’S HOMEWORK: 30-minute Internet research assignment (20 points) • Find information about one of the following, as assigned. • Get information from at least two different sources. • Each student brings in 10 detailed, specific chunks of information about the topic. • Be sure to note the sources of your information. • The Kiowa (their history, culture, and migration) • The Ghost Dance • The Sun Dance • Tai Me (“Tai Me Kiowa”) • Native American Civil Rights Movement
From “Inventive Modeling: Rainy Mountain’s Way to Composition.” College English 46.8 (December 1984): 767-782. • “[W]henever an oral literature is taken out of its storytelling context and presented as a series of written paragraphs, its form and often its content and meaning can be radically altered” (771). • For Momaday, moving from the stories of oral storytellers to written texts involved creating his own pattern for the stories. • “This process included Momaday’s attempts to match specific Kiowa narratives of tribal or family origins (usually paragraph units of 100 to 280 words) with shorter passages in two other voices.
Three voices in The Way to Rainy Mountain • The voice of myth and legend - stories (narratives) of tribal or origins and experiences. • The voice of history--objective (third person) voice “recounts historical, anthropological, or factual information.” • Momaday’s autobiographical voice--“First person voice, private and reflective, recalls significant related personal memories…from Momaday’s (own) childhood.”
Three voices in The Way to Rainy Mountain • Each story page is about a different central theme or idea, yet each contributes to the overall story of the Kiowa people. • Each story page contains all three voices that speak to that theme or idea. • Each voice tells a complete little story on each story page. • The voices are always in the same order. • Each voice is printed in a different font.
The Way to Rainy Mountain in-depth analysis questions.For each question be sure you can respond in-depth, explain your responses, and relate your response to specific passages from the book (mark page numbers). • Discuss the significance of the title, The Way to Rainy Mountain. Why is this place symbolic of his life and the life of his people? • Explain your understanding of Tai Me and The Sun Dance to the Kiowa and the importance/roles they played in the book. • Which lines in this book did you find especially meaningful or beautifully written? Why? • How do the format and layout of the book contribute to its meaning? • Discuss two important lessons you learned about Momaday and his people from this book. • What is your favorite story in this book? Why? • In what ways is The Way to Rainy Mountain like your own family’s story? Be specific and use examples from the text.
Final assessmentThe Many Ways to Rainy Mountain • You will write your own three-voice narrative, following Momaday’s model.
Watch video: • Momaday: Voice of the West • Take notes (10 points).
Some “big ideas” from film: • “Events take PLACE.” • Learning a new way to live • The connection between LANGUAGE (words) and PLACE • Ugly stories + beautiful stories = a life story • Cultural conflict (caught between two worlds) • Connections between humans and animals • Man’s search for identity…his “being”…his place in the world…his sense of belonging • “All writing is autobiographical.” • Writing should be like “…a blow to the head…the axe to the frozen sea within us.”