In both Reading the River by Mark Twain and The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday, the authors tell personal stories of past experiences that impacted them spiritually with the main theme being not to take life for granted. Although relying on examples from nature, Momaday goes a step farther by involving his Native American culture in his essay which cements deeply into place this idea urging care against complacency.
While Twain spends the majority of his work describing the physical world around him and how it has changed since he was a boy, Momaday tells readers about the Kiowa tribe’s rocky history and how it has come to be in present day. He does this by first talking about the tribe’s migration journey from the Black Hills of South Dakota to present day Oklahoma. He talks about how the Kiowa people had to cross many rivers, and how they would use the stars to guide them on their journey.
Eventually, the Kiowa tribe settled in the Rainy Mountain area, which is where Momaday’s ancestors are from. He goes on to describe how the Kiowa people lived off the land, and how they would use every part of the animals they hunted. He also talks about how the Kiowa tribe would pass down their stories and traditions orally, from generation to generation.
In his writing, Twain discusses piloting a riverboat down the Mississippi and how to identify positive or negative tell-tale signs that could affect the journey. After years of constantly searching for things in or on the river, he’s lost the ability to see the river’s beauty like everyone else does. Nature also plays an important role in Momaday’s work. He uses language full of imagery to describe mountains and plains; this is done to show his great respect of nature.
However, his focus is not on the physical world so much as it is on the history and mythology that are a part of his Kiowa heritage. In “The Way to Rainy Mountain”, Momaday tells the story of how Rainy Mountain came to be while also recounting various Kiowa legends. By situating these stories in a specific landscape, Momaday is able to create a sense of place that is essential to understanding the Kiowa people.
Both Twain and Momaday use their respective skills as writers to give readers a new way of looking at the world around them. Through their writing, they are able to share their love of the natural world and impart some of their wisdom to those who are willing to learn.
After his grandmother, who held the oral history of their tribe, died, he realized that any tales told from then on would be merely secondhand versions of her stories.
This is significant because it allows readers to see how important Twain’s “river” is to him, not just as a physical space but also as a link to his ancestors and the history of his people. It also speaks to the idea of memory and how our personal memories can be shaped by the stories we’re told.
By doing this, the authors can entrance their readers instead of just giving them advice. In fact, it could be said that both writers are simply using fiction to tell true stories from their lives. They use intense description and rhetorical devices to make even everyday objects interesting. For example, Twain says that the Mississippi River is like a book that can only be read by those experienced with it- like him.
On the other hand, Scott Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain is more a journey through time than space. It weaves together the stories of his ancestors with events from his own life. In this way, it functions as both an elegy and an epic poem.
The beauty that captivated him and led him to the water is only a distant memory. He once could see sunsets for their picturesque qualities, but now all he can focus on are the landmark rocks or trees that will help him avoid danger, or telling signs of an incoming tide. To those who cannot interpret his work, they see nothing more than pretty images (p.583).
Mark Twain’s “Reading the River” is a short essay included in his book Life on the Mississippi. In it, he reflects on how his perception of the river changed after he became a pilot.
When he first began working on the river, he would spend hours just admiring the scenery and all the different animals he would see. But after years of working as a pilot, he became so focused on navigational hazards that he no longer saw the beauty in the river.
This essay is significant because it shows how our perspectives can change over time, and how we can lose sight of the things that once meant so much to us. It’s a reminder to appreciate the simple things in life, because they might not be there for long.
N. Scott Momaday’s “The Way to Rainy Mountain” is a poem that tells the story of his journey back to Rainy Mountain, where his Kiowa ancestors lived. The poem is divided into three sections, each representing a different stage of his journey.
The beautiful sunset that had once captivated him now only predicted tomorrow’s weather forecast to him (p. 584). In Momaday’s memories, natural phenomena also create powerful imagery for those who choose not to pay too close attention. He describes the lush fields, the snowy mountains, and the harsh plains with words that present a mental image to readers.He also transitioned into how we don’t always have to use our eyesight in order perceive everything around us.
The way to Rainy Mountain is a journey, both in the physical sense and the spiritual sense. The trip up the mountain is a difficult one, but it is worth it for the view from the top.
For Twain, the river was a place of escape. It was a place where he could forget his troubles and relax. The river was also a place of work, however, and Twain often had to row upstream in order to get to his destination.