Author: N. Scott Momaday
Tribe of Author and/or Tribe Featured in Book: Kiowa
Favorite Quote: I don’t really have a favorite quote, but I do like the Kiowa story of the boy who turned into a bear.
Eight children were there at play, seven sisters and their
brother. Suddenly the boy was struck dumb; he trembled and
began to run upon his hands and feet. His fingers became
claws, and his body was covered with fur. Directly there was a
bear where the boy had been. The sisters were terrified; they
ran, and the bear after them. They came to the stump of a
great tree, and the tree spoke to them. It bade them climb
upon it, and as they did so it began to rise into the air. The
bear came to kill them, but they were beyond its reach. It
reared against the trunk and scored the bark all around with its
claw. The seven sisters were borne into the sky, and they
became the stars of the Big Dipper.
Kiowa story of Tsoai
Summary: Locke Setman, Set, is a well-known painter. He receives word that his grandmother was sick. He never knew this grandmother, but returns to Oklahoma anyway. Upon reaching Oklahoma, he’s informed that she has already died (and might have been dead when they sent the telegram about her sickness). He meets several people there including Grey, a beautiful, but mysterious young Native American woman who feels it is her job to help Set fulfill his destiny as “the bear” that’s in the Kiowa tale.
My Opinion: N. Scott Momaday emplys a style of writing that is similar to that of a storyteller. The titles of his chapters are from key passages and quotes in the chapters–a method I find quite clever and something I may use in my future novels. I think Momoday’s characters were well thought out and avoided the stereotypical Native American. The story of Set loosely reminds me of Sherman Alexie’s “How to Write the Great American Indian Novel.” I’m not saying that is a bad thing, that’s just what came to mind as I reflected on Set and the story he was in. I have to say that Grey is my favorite character. I like her because she has a great imagination and she was writing a book for over half ofThe Ancient Child.
Until next time, keep reading.