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"A Writers Style" - N. Scott Momaday Review

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A Writers Style

The Pulitzer Prize winning writer N. Scott Momaday has become known as a very distinctive writer who depicts the stories of the Native American life in almost poetic ways. He does an excellent job of transporting the reader from the black and white pages of a book, to a world where every detail is pointed out and every emotion felt when reading one of Momaday's books or other writings. This style of writing that Momaday uses is very evident in his work "The Way to Rainy Mountain," and made even more apparent by reading a review of the book House Made of Dawn found on a web site run by HarperCollins Publishers.

Throughout the essay "The Way to Rainy Mountain", Momaday uses very descriptive words, which brings the places he is describing to life in the minds eye. The essay begins with his description of the homelands of his Kiowa people, which has been given the name of Rainy Mountain. The picture painted in the readers mind by these beautiful descriptions makes it easily understandable why the Kiowa people came to settle upon this land as their home. For example, part of the description Momaday gives of the land within the first paragraph is, "There are green belts along the rivers and creeks, linear groves of hickory and pecan, willow and witch hazel. At a distance in July or August the streaming foliage seems almost to writhe in fire." (Momaday, 95) I can not help but imagine the trees wavering in a gentle early fall breeze as the yellows and reds seem as if the whole land is burning beneath the fading summer sun. Halfway through the essay he describes the Black Hills by saying "A dark mist lay over the Black Hills and the land was like iron." (97) He then describes Devil's Tower in the next sentence by writing "...I caught sight of Devil's Tower upthrust against the gray sky as if in the birth of time the core of the earth had broken through its crust and the motion of the world was begun." (97) The way that Momaday describes these breathtaking scenes allows the reader to both see and feel the emotion that these great views evoke. This style of writing is backed up through HarperCollins Publishers online review of Momaday's book, House Made of Dawn, when it states that "The world of his grandfather, Francisco--and of Francisco's fathers before him--is a world of seasonal rhythms, a harsh and beautiful place..." This shows that inside the book House Made of Dawn, Momaday uses his trademark technique of description and emotion to describe the world around the characters as he also does in his essay "The Way to Rainy Mountain."

In my opinion however, Momaday's writing is not entirely without faults. One aspect of the essay "The Way to Rainy Mountain" that I found somewhat distracting was when Momaday would move off of the obvious aspect of his journey home. Even though I very much enjoyed the amazing descriptions that he used in telling of the lands from where his people came, I found it hard to grasp the purpose behind the side stories that were being told. I had latched onto the story of him returning home to his grandmother's grave since that was the first aspect presented to me as the reader. Once I had read the text over and studied it a little more deeply, I realized that the purpose of the story was not to tell of Momaday's journey back to rainy mountain, but to tell the story of the Kiowa's journey to Rainy Mountain. I thought it was a little distracting the first time I read because I was distracted by all of the information that Momaday was telling about the Kiowa people and their history. I kept expecting to hear of his trip back to Rainy Mountain and what he was experiencing during this time. As I said before, it was not until I went back and reread the essay did I catch on about the true point to the story. This might have been avoided if Momaday had made it clearer that the focus of the story was on the Kiowa people and not his journey back to see his grandmother's grave. Once I understood this aspect though, I was able to completely appreciate the story and imagery for what it was. This was a slight downside of Momaday's writing, however he was able



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