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She considers the Western hero's attraction to pain, his fear of women and language, his desire to dominate the environment—and to merge with it.In fact, Tompkins argues, for better or worse Westerns have taught us all—men especially—how to behave.Elegy For Jane By Theodore Roethke Theodore Roethke’s “Elegy for Jane” is a poem of a teacher’s reaction to the tragic death of one of his students, Jane.
Do you think there is any validity to her criticisms? What assumptions about gender preferences and rhetorical styles lie behind Tompkins’ dissatisfactions?
What “emotions”does she describe in the second part of the essay? What account does she give of recent trends in literary criticism? (2140) Are there features of this essay’s presentation which seem more convincing or widely applicable than others?
She brings spirit, energy, freshness and originality to a field of study that has long been buried many feet deep in cliches.
- Patricia Nelson Limerick, The Boston Sunday Globe A passionate and generous book. - Library Journal In explaining how she overcame her prejudices against the Western Tompkins illuminates the genre as few others ever have. Cohen, University of Michigan A daring and confrontational literary essay meant to rattle the peace of mind of just about every cowboy on the face of the earth....
Into this world full of violence and manly courage, the world of John Wayne and Louis L'Amour, Tompkins takes her readers, letting them feel what the hero feels, endure what he endures.
Writing with sympathy, insight, and respect, she probes the main elements of the Western—its preoccupation with death, its barren landscapes, galloping horses, hard-bitten men and marginalized women—revealing the view of reality and code of behavior these features contain.The feminist perspective of West of Everything makes it invaluable to the ongoing critical discourse on Westerns.- The San Francisco Chronicle Jane Tompkins knows her Western through and through; she handles details, events and scenes from novels and movies with skill and surety....Throughout her book [Tompkins] evidences a charm, honesty, and sense of intellectual adventure that would make her a happy pardner on a long ride....And why do I love Miz Tompkins so much for bush-whacking the myth of the West inside me? - John Calvin Batchelor, Washington Post Book World Anyone who cares about American popular culture could profit from reading this masterpiece.However, when it comes to the point of forming close emotional ties, with developing feelings of romantic love, society would strike this as unacceptable.The speaker is aware of his inappropriate relationship, and because of this, he has no right to love her and is forced to distance himself from her. She had “a sidelong pickerel smile” and was a delight to converse with.The speaker often compares her to birds and plants, giving her in image of innocence, of perfection.“A wren, happy, tail into the wind, Her song trembling the twigs and small branches…Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth, Even a father could not find her.“Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love: I, with no rights in this matter, Neither father nor lover.” Roethke illustrates the affiliation between the speaker and his student with this line.