The Origins Of The Literary Western: Dime Novels And The Virginian By O.Wister
1583 Words7 Pages
The concept of the Wild West lies at the core of the American ideology â" the republican ideology of an independent state ruled by Law. The conflict between Law and Justice is always at the centre of a western. The reason is not hard to find: the wild frontier lands which used to belong to the native American population was an easy prey for all kinds of adventurers, outlaws and gangsters; ordinary settlers, in their turn, had to suffer from both Indians and rustlers. This resulted in immediate measures, such as lynching, which was viewed as an act of justice, on the one hand, and a kind of substitute for ineffective law, on the other.
The Wild West is the quintessence of American national identity. The ideal of a brave and strong, independent and free man best fits the idea of Americanism. These feelings of common Americans are readily exploited in politics and business. Thus, for example, quite a few Presidents of the United States turned to the image of a cowboy when their aim was to win popularity among the American people. The examples are not hard to find: the outgoing President of the Unites States George Bush Jr. has often been pictured disguised as a cowboy â" with a Stetson hat and cowboy shoes on. The images of the Wild West and a cowboy have been infrequently exploited in advertising, for example, in the popular advertising campaign of the Marlboro brand of cigarettes.
The concept of the Wild West has so far prominently established itself in the cultural pattern of the United States. The history of the concept is based on the history of "the western US during the later part of the 19th century, when communities were settled but there was not much law and orderâ .
The western got its start in the "penny dreadfulsâ and later in the "dime novelsâ. "Penny Dreadfulâ  was a term applied to nineteenth century English fiction publications, usually lurid serial stories appearing in parts over a number of weeks, each part costing a penny. The term, however, soon came to encompass a variety of publications that featured cheap sensational fiction, such as story papers and booklet "libraries.â The Penny Dreadfuls were printed on cheap pulp paper and were aimed primarily at teenage boys from the working class.