Sunday, August 29, 2010
The Frontier Myth and American History
When discussing a topic like the "frontier myth," it is important to define our terms, so that we are talking about the same thing, especially since the word "frontier" has had several different meanings, and the word "myth" is used today in much the same way as "lie" is.
The word myth is often used as a synonym for the word lie; a myth is not necessarily an untruth, however. According the the American Heritage College Dictionary, a myth is "A traditional story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that informs or shapes the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the customs or ideals of a society" or "A popular belief or story associated with a person, institution, or occurrence, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal."
The iconic western Shane helped to perpetuate this frontier myth. After watching the first portion of the film (a portion of which can be seen in the YouTube video below), we will discuss the construction of this myth.
Posted by Gregory M. Miller at 8:49 PM