Analysis Of The Poem ' Gendering Of The American West ' Essay example

820 Words Nov 12th, 2015 4 Pages
Gendering of the American West

Identity, including gender identity, is entangled in setting. Daniel Russell argues that whatever the influence, positive or negative, the place of the novel must be considered when assessing characterization1. I would argue that this is particularly true when it comes to the American landscape which, historically, has been key to the development of American culture. A country mythicized with statements such as ‘the streets are paved with gold’, is one where space and place are intricately linked with the identity of the place and the people in it. The role of place has historically asserted itself within the masculine identity of the male American ego, as something to alter and to dominate. As well as be altered by and dominated by. It is therefore important not to participate in the act of “pruning the greenery”2 as John Ruskin suggests, as so much of the novel’s worth lies within the descriptions of scenery and space. The following chapter will examine the ways in which Cather has entangled gender within the landscape of her novels, and as a result mired her characters within the landscape. Cather situates her characters position in the landscape, so much so that even the names she gives them places them in nature. By exploring this and how Cather conforms and deviates to gendered sublimes, in her novels My Antonia and The Professor’s House, this chapter will demonstrate how Cather situates her characters in ‘place’ and what the…

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