Film/novel True Grit Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:27:48
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Out in a middle of nowhere, a man rides a horse in haste as if it were chasing after something. This is the common image of the cowboy that we have all become familiar with. In fact, it is next to impossible not to recognize the image of the cowboy because it is so powerful in pop cultural myths. It is interesting to examine the myth and image of the cowboy in a comparison of the legendary film/novel True Grit and the unique paintings of Remington Remington.

A sparse description is the hallmark of the style of Remingtons usage of blurry touches and specific colors on the painting as seen in against the sunset which portrays a mans masculinity in the form of a mythical hero figure of west. In the previously mentioned painting, Remington emphasized a mans masculinity by using the environment of the painting. There is nothing in the frame besides the land and many small bushes. Although these bushes are small as a group they seem like an obstacle for a man. Moreover, their dark colors emit a negative image and even evoke threatening obstructions for a challenger.

However, as a man, he seems to be not hesitating to face challenges in front him, but rather to keep going forward even faster. Although it seems like sun is setting, a man still rides a horse and never looks down in twilight. Just like Mattie he must be not scared of the dark (True Grit 60). Also it seems like the unknown mans image is similar to my opinion of LaBoeuf from True Grit. The unknown man is wearing two revolvers (True Grit 67) just like LaBoeuf. Also, his belt [is] thick and wide and bedecked with cartridges (True Grit 67).

Additionally, his appearance matches with LaBoeuf although his face is blurry on the painting. Also he looks like he is around thirty years of age (True Grit 67). There are other similarities, In the novel True Grit, though LaBoeuf was not as good at shooting as Rooster, he did not fear chasing a criminal in Unknown Territory which can be very dangerous for strangers. Also, at the novels conclusion, he sacrifices himself for little sister Mattie proving that he is also a man with true grit. As a result, LaBoeuf-like image evokes an essence similar to the unknown mans masculinity.

On the other hand, against the sunset gives an image of changes through its back ground color and empty surroundings. The unknown man seems almost lonely in the painting with no buildings or people around. However, An area of free land (Turner 199) portrays this image of the west during the nineteenth century which was a period of sudden change. By the time when Eastern part of the United States became industrialized, the west still remained a wilderness. However, many people started to immigrate west because the west was the land of opportunity.

Therefore, many immigrants and migrants were compelled to adapt themselves to the changes¦ involved in crossing a continent, in defeating a wilderness and in [developing the newly expanded territory] out of the primitive economic and political conditions of the frontier into the complexity of city life (Turner 199). As Turner said, developing caused many changes in the west including economic status, surroundings, and political view. Now, the portrait Sunset makes distinguishable the day and the night. As sun goes down and the whole colors of surrounding changes.

Shadow gets shorter and shorter and by the time the sun sets, it disappears. As visible in Remingtons piece, the background color remains very bright and looks like a strange mix of yellow and orange. It must be right when sun set started. However, if the artist was intended to capture one additional, the image would turn out to be whole different color. Also, it already seems to appear darker because the edges of painting depict themselves darker than the middle. Also, although it is not shown in the painting completely, we can imagine that soon the twilight will be gone.

Against the sunset also evokes an image of mythical hero figure by cowboy-like dressed man. It is ironic that even though cowboy does not maintain a particular status and never was what is considered a cowboy by their stereotyped and commonly depicted appearance. Of course, what is real and what we expect are clearly not the same item, but it does not matter. What does matter is that our expectations in the image we have are met (that is, the cowboy wears a cowboy hat and not a derby) and that the character is presented in slightly dissimilar manner as well so that we are not treated to everything we expect.

In other words, there must be some deviations and subtle if not outright differences present so we experience something new enough to pique our interested while staying within the framework of our expectations of the genre. For example, Rooster, the narrator from True Grit, never said that he is a cowboy, but we categorize him as a cowboy anyway. He is old, but tall, big, one-eyed man, and wear[s] a dusty black suit of clothes (True Grit 40). It is not described in the book in a detail, but it is clear in the movie that he wears cowboy hats and carries big rifles with him.

Just as people categorize native Indians by skin color and appearance, cowboys are categorized by their way of dress, their status and masculinity. In a manner similar to Rooster, the Unknown Man seems to be a cowboy because he wears cowboy hat, leather vest, and dusty pants. By the mere fact that the Unknown Man looks like cowboy makes him very powerful because from the media and books we have always receive impression that cowboys symbolize justice, machism and a heroism. In a way, the novel True Grit portrays Rooster as a super hero who is not a mere human.

When Rooster meets Lucky Ned Peppers gang, he faces a crisis because it was a showdown between him alone versus three relatively young men. However, by way of a miracle, Rooster stays alive and manages to kill all three of the other men. This determines Roosters character as a super hero because in reality such melodrama could never actually happen. (It is more akin to a RAMBO film than a serious treatise on life in the old west) This is similar in how the way of dress makes the Unknown Mans image similar to the super hero Rooster.

From this connection, we provide the Unknown Man with many known traits that we have come to expect from a cowboy. These expectations are overwhelming and they create an image that transfers our positive images from one source (cowboy films, novels, etc) to the portrait. In a way the portrait air lifts imagery from another area that is already established as having certain positive traits. The cowboy image is powerful enough to do this because the cowboy is a character that is the essence of independence and the American spirit. It is a difficult thing to depart from the collective and live the life of the individual.

This is what the cowboy does and he gains massive respect and an eternal mythos because of it. The cowboy is a complex individual and this complexity manifests itself in different mediums that borrow from the cowboys rich history. This mythos of the cowboy can be seen in novels/films such as True Grit and in the amazing portraits of Remington. The mythos becomes even more interesting when one looks at the mythos and compares it to the portraits and True Grit. From this examination, we learn the mythos is more powerful than we ever imagined.

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