A Critical Analysis of “My Kiowa Grandmother, ” and “Take My Saddle from the Wall: a Valediction”

1829 Words Dec 10th, 2012 8 Pages
A Critical Analysis of “My Kiowa Grandmother,” and
“Take My Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction”

A Critical Analysis of “My Kiowa Grandmother,” and
“Take My Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction”
The essays, “My Kiowa Grandmother,” by N. Scott Momaday and “Take My Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction,” by Larry McMurtry, both seek to understand the values and traditions of an old way of life that has been lost to the trials and tribulations of time. By reaching back into history through their families, both authors achieve the same effect, while using starkly contrasting narrative structure; they show the characteristics that have been lost to younger generations.
The purpose of N. Scott Momaday’s essay, “My Kiowa Grandmother,” is
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“The plow and the cotton patch [were] not only tasks [his ancestors] loathed” they were qualities of a soul that the McMurtry’s despised (146).
The method of organization that authors use is important to the overall presentation of their thoughts. Momaday’s attempt at self-definition is an integral part of the pattern of his essay. Momaday achieves his goal by organizing his thoughts in a descriptive, associative pattern that allows him to tell multiple disconnected stories that are a part of a larger picture.
Momaday portrays the Kiowa people and where they lived. He describes his grandmother and his memories of her, then recounts the sad and lonely home that once belonged to her, and the commotion that once filled the rooms of the house during reunions. Each of the parts of his essay comes together as pieces of a whole puzzle do when he ventures out to her grave. Ultimately, his quest to understand the values of the Kiowa, and to find himself within their stories and traditions, is lost as are the generations of old Indian warriors. After visiting his grandmother’s grave, the weight and understanding of the loss prevails and “looking back once, [he] saw the mountain and came away” (292). His journey to understand his people, for him, ended with the death of his grandmother. As he departed the ancient burial ground at the base of Rainy Mountain, he left not only his ancestors there, but also his dream of carrying out their traditions as

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