Monday, January 26, 2015

Susan Lee Johnson's chapter titled "A Memory Sweet to Soldiers: The Significance of Gender in the History of the 'American West'" discusses the transformation the heroin undergoes in late-nineteenth-century literature. She becomes very masculine, or in Johnson's words, a "cross-dressing hunk of a girl who could shoot from the hip like a man." This is an interesting choice of words because it raises the question of exactly how a woman's identity changes/adapts in the American West. Must she become masculine in order to survive or can she recreate herself in a rougher but still feminine persona?   


Scholar 1 said...

Because the woman is entering a male-dominated empire (the American West) she will have to conform to the rules of the region in order to survive. However, it is important to note that racial conformity will impact the female character equally. The white imperialism of other races in the American West is in undeniable force that will incite change in the identity of characters who explore the West.

ME said...

But is there a way to look simply at the implications of gender without race? Can one choose to look at JUST the masculine influences without them necessarily being white? Surely there are characteristics of men that are commonly shared across racial borders, and these can impact women all women regardless of race because they share general commonalities as well.