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Essay on Women in Ancient Westerns

Project id 1014509
Subject area Writing
Document type Essay
Words 3205
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Westerns connote images of dirt, dust, guns, horses, cowboys and personalities: physically powerful, iron-willed, independent, resourceful, quick-witted guys. Although the contemporary Western (that the writings of Louise L’Amour, Zane Grey and also the several movies starring John Wayne, Roy Rodgers, Gene Autry) appears to concentrate on this ideal hero, the genre actually also provides girls with powerful, self-reliant, lively roles. In fact, many texts that precede the typical modern Western had females as the main characters. However, the role of the heroine nevertheless differs from that of the protagonist; the role does not defeminize women but provides them depth as personalities. These girls still maintain their femininity and domesticity, but they also rescue those around them, treat themselves, and also have a connection with the land. The Girl of the Golden West, a drama written by David Belasco around 1905, perfectly shows this idea. The heroine, the Girl, speaks honestly, carries a gun, takes good care of herself, protects the miners' money, and really rescues the protagonist. At the exact same time, she comforts her boys, wants to recreate the house she remembers, and, epitomizing female merit, converts the street agent with her own love. Other earlier functions also provide examples of energetic, strong women. These earlier works laid a foundation and created a tradition from which the modern day Western evolved. The tradition began in the first days of the colonies together with all the captivity narratives and eventually blossomed into tales such as The Girl of the Golden West, definitely a Western with a heroine. In her book, West of Everything, Jane Tompkins discusses the essential components that define the genre. From her discussion, one can extract a working definition: the setting, th...

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