February 20, 2014
The Wild West Rides Into The Sunset
Have you ever read a text that included items such as a bold cowboy, trusty horse, beautiful female, or a dark villain in a dry, isolated, and undeveloped setting? If so, it’s a great possibility that you were reading a classic Western. Many readers of this genre would describe its stereotypes as what I listed above. You can almost always find that protagonist cowboy hero, who tends to be a good-looking and sharp character that fights the dirty, rugged, evil villain in an epic climax while trying to save his gorgeous and innocent lady. The setting is often a flat, unpopulated, and undeveloped town, surrounded by mountains. The Western genre played a
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Kolb describes the typical spouse of the hero as an Eastern looking female who is “a beautiful maiden” (98). Cawelti says that there are two different kinds of women in the Western (30). One being a “blonde” that “represents genteel, pure femininity,” while the other being the “brunette” that “symbolizes a more fullblooded, passionate and spontaneous nature, often slightly tainted by a mixed blood or a dubious past” (31). Female character Virgie Verner from Deadwood Dick’s Doom is a great example of the Eastern culture being used in Western literature. Vernie is young, beautiful, well dressed, and sings as a profession. This character symbolizes the glamorous and elegant female from the East that most readers would expect to find in a Western story. Potter’s wife is expected to be a dazzling and appealing female, however we receive a “droopy ex-cook who is neither young nor pretty” (98). She is described as a typical housewife, with no true detail of her appearance, and remains nameless throughout the story. You can start to see how Crane brought his ideas to the table and made the reader think about more than just the typical western plot.
In “The Bride,” you see a character like Scratchy Wilson trying to withhold the Western culture, knowing the era of the old west is coming to an end. The confrontation at the end of the story between him and Marshal Jack Potter is monumental in