Western Genre In Western Literature

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The western genre’s significance Although the success of the Hollywood Western peaked in the 1960s, Western films were still produced though with a different perspective and intentions as well as extended into the TV medium where it was became one of the most dominant genres (Yoggy, 160). In this format, the TV Western appeared in a variety of forms from juvenile shows (The Lone Ranger (1949-1957), Davy Crockett (1954-1955)) and family series (The Little House on the Prairie (1974-1984)) to adult Westerns (Gunsmoke (1955-1975), The High Chaparral (1967-1971), Bonanza (1959-1973), Dallas (1978-1991 + 2012-2014)). The persistence of the Western format can also be proved with more contemporary shows such as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993-1998),…show more content…
From the extensive analyses and discussions done by Slotkin, McVeigh, Cawelti, J. White, and Lenihan it is possible to sum up the significance of the Western film genre in relation to the mythic West. Because the Western film genre has solidified the West as what Cawelti calls a ‘symbolic setting’ and Slotkin a ‘mythic space’, it becomes clear that the West of the popular imagination to a large extent is a result of Westerns and the images and themes presented to the American public through this medium. It is in that sense hard to underestimate the importance of Westerns and how they played an important role in creating an American identity as Corey Creekmur notes, “The western thus not only glowingly recalls a key period in American history, but in effect summarizes America as a whole and being American as a national identity.” (397) Western films narrate how “America, creature of mythic heritage, came of age amid flying lead on countless dusty Main Streets.” (Coyne, 9) This suggests that while the American republic politically had been independent from 1776, it was not until the West had been annexed America became a ‘complete’ nation and the West thus became a “formative space of US national identity.” (Paul,…show more content…
This suggests that despite the exaggerated and romanticized portrayal of the West, the films’ portrayal and images of both the West and America’s past in general have been so powerful that actual history has blended with fiction. It is thus possible to conclude from the scholars’ analyses and discussion of the Western film genre in general and their examples that the genre has proved itself to be a very powerful and influential vehicle in both disseminating and shaping the mythic West, what Garrett calls a “influential socializing agent”

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