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On "The Stalker"


Matthias Schubnell

In three short pieces of prose poetry, similar in style to those in The Way to Rainy Mountain, Momaday evokes different stages in the evolution of Kiowa life. "The Stalker" shows the fragility of Kiowa existence before the acquisition of the horse; "The Fear of Bo-talee" is a salute to the heroism and humanity of a Kiowa warrior at the height of the horse culture; "The Horse that Died of Shame" combines a story of an act of cowardice, signifying the decline of the Kiowa spirit, with a description of the way in which this traditional tale prevails in Momaday's imagination and dreams and affects his vision of the world around him. In a fourth poem of similar character, "The Story of a Well-Made Shield," Momaday tries to approximate the inexpressible potency he senses in nature.

from N. Scott Momaday: The Cultural and Literary Background. Copyright 1985 by the University of Oklahoma Press.


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