Buffalo Bill Antimodernist

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Stop. Picture a man in your head. The manliest man you can think of. Odds are that you pictured one of two basic templates: either, 1) a plump businessman adorned in a designer suit with his legs up on a desk smoking a cigar, or, 2) a large bearded lumberjack wearing flannel, sweating from all the work he has been doing all day, a light layer of dirt coating his skin. Both of these vastly contrasting images have been considered the ideal man at different points in time. In the early nineteenth century it was an elegant man sitting behind a desk. Following the antimodernist shift it is instead a large man leaping over a desk that he himself crafted with his own hands. Neither of those answers, however, are truly correct. The best answer, the…show more content…
Buffalo Bill consistently chooses to go on dangerous expeditions with real pain and suffering present. From the ripe young age of nine, Bill is a man. Most boys his age are focusing on their studies, running around with other children, or perhaps even helping their fathers. Billy however, is calling out full grown men and challenging them to shooting contests. After the sergeant in Salt Creek Valley refuses to sell his horse Little Grey to Billy for a proposed amount, Billy confidently spouts, “‘I’ll put up all I have offered you against your animal and shoot for them’” (Ingraham 5). Further than that, upon tying the sergeant in the competition, Billy decides to one up him and prove himself. He “then put [the apple] on the head of the pony… threw forward his pistol and fired,” (Ingraham 6). This young child is clearly not preparing for a clerical job in his future. He is not hoping or seeking a Victorian future. Billy wants to prove himself, wants to assert his dominance over men decades older than him. He goes out in search of something, challenging the sergeant rather than waiting for something to happen to him. There is a yearning of sorts for some excitement, some chance at something real. Billy wants something, anything to prove himself, regardless of the risks. His own health, and in this case his horse’s, comes secondary to the pursuit of pride and experience. Readers of this dime novel are viewing Billy as an adult in this context, forgetting that he is still in his youth. They are reading about this kid who is not just sitting at home doing the typical thing, but making a name for

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