Midterm Study Guide

Jane Tompkins argues that westerns over the course of the twentieth century taught men that masculinity was based on the fear of women, dominating a landscape, and an acceptance of pain. Using the novels and films and songs we have considered so far make a case for or against this argument.


Drawing from SPECIFIC examples from the text be prepared to answer the following:

How is the code as expressed by Owen Wister an expression of his masculine ideal?

What distinctions do westerns typically make between the cowboy and the gunfighter?

How do westerns tend to treat the church?

How does the western develop the character of the anti-hero?

What is the significance of women standing up to men in the typical western?

What is the significance of cowboys’ relationship to animals?

To the natural world?

What is the significance of secret valleys in the western?

of dual identities?

Compare Jane Withersteen as the ideal western woman to eitherĀ  Amy Fowler, Molly Wood, or Helen Ramirez.