Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jane Tompkins describes the typical cowboy as “a man whose hardness is one with the hardness of nature.” This shows the direct correlation between man and nature. In The Searchers, John Wayne’s character, Ethan, is a rugged cowboy that resembles the typical view of a cowboy. Ethan’s view towards the Natives was shown in the very beginning when he was re-introduced to a family friend, Martin, who was an eighth Cherokee. Ethan was very bitter about Martin’s ethnicity, and even told Martin that he looked like a “half-breed.” Ethan was very dry and unwelcoming, just like the desert. Ethan was also very bleak and lonely, in a sense, similar to the barrenness of the desert. Wayne’s character displayed rage at times throughout the movie which relates to the desert’s unpredictable flurries. Like Tompkins’ states the desert is “hard” and “austere.” Ethan also comes off as hard and austere through his rough and jagged physical appearance. Ethan’s quest to find his family after they were attacked by the Indians was a revenge-driven plot. The cowboy fights for what he wants, and nature is always there with him. As Tompkins’ states “In the end, the land is everything to the hero; it is both the destination and the way.”

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