Monday, 30 March 2015


Anti- Immigration site

This website shows a vast amount of statistics and flashy images that show the negative effects of immigration. Not only does it try and scare the reader into believing that immigration is a very negative on the 'every day American' it also blames congress and the president for the 'problem'. It also states 'sensible solutions' that seem to be very complicated and very costly. The website offers a wide amount of different medias that are all very bias towards its goal.

Pro-Immigration site

This isn't exactly a Pro-Immigration website, but an organisation that aims to protect the rights of who are immigrants and refugees and aim to protect their rights. They offer a range different aspects that they are fighting to change and protect, such as the situation at the US-Mexico boarder and fight the increasingly harsh border controls.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Pro- and Anti-Immigration

Pro: ImmigrationWorks USA

ImmigrationWorks USA:
The home page of the website uses a red, white, and blue colour scheme, indicating a patriotic leaning. The slideshow which draws the visitor's attention gives the website a professional appearance. The slides point the visitor to various pages they may be most interesting in, such as: how immigration affects businesses, the relation between Republicans and Latinos, and the testimony of an immigrant who has been helped by the organisation.

The home page also features news such as debunking the job-stealing immigrant myth, and reports of what political leaders such as Jed Bush and Barack Obama have said on the topic of immigration. The website features many useful and easy-to-find links, such as a donate button, how to get involved, and a menu which directs the visitor to what they may be most interested in, such as the aims of the organisation, information on immigration, and contact information.

Anti: NumbersUSA

The home page of this website is fit for a wider screen, and has a lot more information on the front page, such as news posts, and comments on immigration from users. The menu is in a drop-down style, providing links to sub-menus. These menus can direct the visitor to information such as what the organisation does, their stances on how to treat immigrants, news, the issues caused by immigration, and offered solutions.

The organisation claims to be pro-immigration and anti-immigrant bashing, and say their focus is instead on controlling and decreasing the numbers of immigrants being allowed into the country. They specify - at the very end of the 'about' page - that they do not condone xenophobia or racism. The website includes a log on, and claims an open forum for discussion. Similar to ImmigrationWorks USA, it has a donate button, but uniquely it also offers an app version of the website.

Overall, the NumbersUSA website is more modern, with the page dimensions fitting a modern laptop, and the availability of an app, as well as the option for interactivity, makes the website more visually appealing, and appears more informative than the ImmigrationWorks USA website.


 The Americans for legal immigration website seems to be focused on news articles and “resources on Illegal Immigration reform” but also contains links to facts and history on illegal immigration, one link goes to a page on how to report illegal immigrants. The organization claims to “Represent Americans of every race, political party, and walk of life” which is difficult to believe as they are very critical of democrat Barack  Obama calling him “the worst president in US history on the issue of illegal immigration”; though they also criticize George W. Bush calling him "horrible on [the] issue” of immigration. The language used when referring to Latino immigrants also make it difficult to believe they represent Americans of every race, the word illegal is used a staggering amount on the site and the dehumanizing phrase illegal aliens is also used.

Latinos United for Immigration Reform
Latinos United is an organization looking for immigration reform to allow immigrants to gain legal citizenship easily some of their goals are to

Provide a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants
Restructure the Immigration System
Preserve Family Unity

The website offers facts, history and general information on immigration reform. It has more links to social media sites and has more of a focus on pro active campaigning than ALIPAC, with a visible "Act Now" tab at the top of the webpage and a large amount of the homepage encouraging people to write to the president and congress asking for immigration reform. The website is also available in Spanish.

Both websites are fairly well designed but The ALIPAC sites layout is cluttered, it looks slightly less professional than the Latino United website and uses a harsher font and colour scheme.

Immigration For and Against


ACLU stands for the "American Civil Liberties Union", this website stand for the defense of all immigrants legal or illegal, making sure racial profiling is held back and citizens of the United States know what they are entitled to. The website mostly stresses of the overwhelming power the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) have and how some of the recent laws that have been passed infringe on the constitution. An example for this would be the immigration raids that have begun to search for illegal immigrants this has led to the breaking of the 4th Amendment the protection against unreasonable search and seizures, not to mention this has led to massive racial profiling in the policing of the states with connected borders to Mexico with 429,000 people held in detention in 2011 with little evidence of any illegal immigration. The organisation runs solely on donations with no government backing and was formed in the 1920s to protect the freedom of speech and help African-American and Women's rights. The website itself is divided into each social issue that effects the American people stating "So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy". Though Immigration is not their soul cause they are fighting it does feature on their front page and their resources seem to be vase. 

 AIC stands for "Americans for Immigration Control" founded in the 1980's it claims "AIC is an American non-partisan grassroots activist organisation with more than a quarter of a million members citizens of all races, creeds and colours". Though this is true the way in which it describes the people they are trying to prevent access to the United states in worrying as in many places you find the word Alien, though many people from Mexico come from Latino decent making them closer ti this North American the majority of the American population.

The main difference between the AIC and the ACLU  is the support from the State as the website boast of the amount of representatives that endorse this pressure group. The groups main fear is the population will become to much for the country to handle, so its way of combating this is to ban the rest of the world from coming in.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Of America

The 'Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Of America'; The Orthodox Church embodies and expresses the rich spiritual treasures of Eastern Christianity. The website goes by the name of ''.

 The website layout is fairly amateur and is at times, hard to navigate and understand. However the website is quite frankly 'loaded' with information surrounding the 'Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Of America' faith; It even has its own online chapel that comes completes with social media tools that allow an individual to 'share' or even 'like' the faith.

In terms of how this faith defines itself as particularly 'American', the following is said on their website: "Many Orthodox Christians in America proudly trace their ancestry to the lands and cultures of Europe and Asia, but the Orthodox Church in the United States can no longer be seen as an immigrant Church. While the Orthodox Church contains individuals from numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds, the majority of her membership is composed of persons who have been born in America" Taking note of how they say the United States can no longer be seen as an immigrant church, one could suggest that faith wishes to express themselves through the exclusivity of only Americans. By being a faith in which a majority of the people are American, the  'Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Of America' become something of a national pride and a unique way in which one can express their love of their nation and their faith.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

The home page of the CJCLDS website prominently features a slideshow of four photos of smiling people, with brief heart-warming descriptions of them and their happiness brought by being part of the Mormon church. An additional fifth slide shows a painting of Jesus, and offers the visitor to learn more about Him.

The menu bar across the top of the page lists: people, values, beliefs, visit, FAQ, and blog.

  • The People page allows the visitor to view a gallery of existing Mormon profiles, search this gallery by filters such as age and gender, and contact members of the church either via live chat or over the phone.
  • The Values page features information on "cultural priorities", such as the importance of marriage and family, freedom of choice, and missionary work. The section on missionary work ends with links to find a church, meet missionaries, live chat with church members, or order a Book of Mormon.
  • The Beliefs page highlights the beliefs of the church that differentiate them from the other churches, such as Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Restoration of the Gospel.
  • The Visit page again directs the visitor to find a church and/or get in touch with church members and missionaries.
  • The FAQ page provides an extensive list of questions one might have about the CJCLDS. Each question comes with an official answer from the church, along with several personal answers from church members. This variety of answers offers an interesting array of Mormon perspectives.
  • The Blog page offers blog posts on topics such as online resources for bible study, parenting/marriage tips, scripture analysis, and the meaning of being Christian and/or Mormon.

The website is extremely informative, particularly with the FAQ section, and is clearly aimed towards recruiting people to join the church and to follow Jesus. There is a large emphasis on family and community, demonstrated with the section allowing visitors to look at profiles and stories of Mormons, and the constant encouragement to find a church and communicate with church members. Many of the FAQ answers and the information on the 'values' page discuss family and a commitment to marriage and children, illustrating the emphasis on family.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Seventh-day Adventist Church


The Seventh-day Adventist is a denomination of the protestant founded in 1863 in Michigan. They  believe in the second coming of Jesus. It has over 18 million members. The church has a focus on a holistic understanding of the body with emphasis on diet and health with members encouraged to be vegetarian. Members are also encouraged to dress conservatively  Adventists refrain from getting body piercing, tattoos and even from wearing jewelry.

Their website is fairly modern there are links to social media accounts such as Facebook and twitter and the website has a drop down menu which allows you to change the language on the website. There is various information about church services and petitions on the homepage; such as ending violence towards women, but there are also links to information about what to expect when Jesus returns which are more hidden on the website and are accessed through following various links . The website is generally well maintained with no broken links or outdated information.

Peoples Temple/ Jones Town Massacre

Jim Jones was a Pentecostal preacher during the middle of the 20th century in America, with the main belief that racism was something that should be defined by God not man and in doing so became one of the social leaders in abolishing racism. His preaching attracted many African-Americans from the 1950s to the 1970s, mainly because he had progressive views on racial equality. Jim Jones’s cult, "Peoples Temple", first relocated to Utah, because he believed this would give his people the best chance of surviving a nuclear war. But by the 1970s, he had denominations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Jim Jones actually had a certain amount of political power.
   Facing pressure from an article printed in 1977 exposing the organisation as a cult by revealing the tight restrictions, contact with the outside world and his harsh punishments towards anyone who broke or disagreed with his views, As seen with a custody battle for a child who Jim Jones had kidnapped from a couple who had left the cult of fear of it becoming dangerous. Jim Jones begun the emigration of the "Peoples Temple" to Guyana in South America. It was there where Jim attempted to set up his new Eden but by this time Jim Jones started to show signs of clear paranoia demonstrated by his claims that the C.I.A. were trying to destroy and harm the people of Jones Town, which eventually became Jones' creations of false fire fights and putting the village on a six day siege where Jones himself would inform the residents of Americas attempts to eradicate the population.                  

After mass letter writing campaigns from ex-members of the cult explaining their stories and the disappearing of citizens that attempted to leave, the U.S. sent congressman Leo Ryan to investigate. on the congressman's arrival the town seemed to be progressing well, it was only until one of the members handed Ryan a secret note asking for help to leave and admitting the town had been rehearsed for the congressman's visit. After hearing this news Ryan started to lead defectors back to America but it was on this trip they were shot and killed by the cults security squad. It was after this that Jones feared a repercussion from the U.S. government and invoked a mass suicide for everyone in the camp with the death toll reaching up to 900 innocent adults and children slaughtered.         

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

                                                              "He boiled for your sins"

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a religion that is based around the belief of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It is one that has its status often disputed by those who call it a 'Mock Religion' although members reject this claim.

I have chosen this religion to define itself in the American character as it is a Religion that in a way criticises other religions for their rejection of certain people because of their beliefs or finances.

Under the title ' Join us ' It explains that the church does not ask for any money ( Possibly a swipe at the Church of Scientology) Or to preform any spiritual retreat or ritual to be one with God. It also states that you can be a member and not believe in everything that the Church offers. Where other churches in America have been famous in shunning individuals for disagreeing with certain aspects of the religion, such as in Tennessee.

To me the Religion offers values of togetherness and diversity which is one of the fundamental ideas behind the United States of America. They have been known go to picket demonstrations spreading hate and picket them by stating that all are welcome within the Church.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Chapter 23: Indian War-Cry

Consider the different types of hardships faced by the Ingalls family - natural, political, social. Make a list of examples.

The chapter opens with Pa returning from the burnt prairie, which was burnt by the Indians. Although he is covered in black soot, he is grateful the tall grass has gone; one hardship of nature has been replaced by another.

The hardships faced in the rest of the chapter are mainly focused around conflict with the Indian people. As multiple Indian tribes converge on the nearby camp, the threat they pose rises, as the Ingall family begins to fear they may be attacked. Laura describes the threat of the Indians to be "worse than wolves", a threat they had previously encountered.

What attitudes are revealed through the representation of American Indians?

The higher the number of Indians, the higher threat they pose. The single Osage Indian seen riding past, Soldat du Chene, is in fact seen as a "good Indian", and despite the chapter's depiction of the imminent threat from the Indians, the chapter finishes with Pa's sentiment that "no matter what Mr Scott said, [he] did not believe that the only good Indian was a dead Indian." Other than Soldat du Chene, the Indians are completely demonised, their war cries likened to the howls of wolves, suggesting that the Ingalls see the Indians as unfriendly wildlife.

Discuss the operation of traditional gender roles seen in the novel. Are there any surprises in the depiction?

Pa's role as protector is emphasised throughout the novel, including in this chapter. After the war-cries end, Pa leaves to investigate what had happened, and the women are scared without him, Their protector in Pa's absence is Jack, their dog - suggesting that they need a male protector so much that even a dog would suit.

Social conditioning is abundant throughout the novel, with Laura's narrative voice constantly reminding her that children should be seen and not heard at the table, that little girls shouldn't ask questions, and that it's rude to interrupt - but it's okay for Pa to do it. In this chapter, Laura and Mary are curious as to what a stockade is, but when Laura dares to ask, she is reminded she shouldn't be asking questions.

What relevance does this text have for today? What does the marketing of the book suggest?

The 1992 Mammoth edition of Little House on the Prairie's blurb describes the novel as a "classic and popular story", indicating the novel to be a timeless tale that has been and will be loved for a long time. The book features illustrations throughout, and the writing is plain English, clearly illustrating that the target audience is young children. The cover illustration by Caroline Binch features iconography of the West that paints it as an idyllic landscape, with a wide expanse of flower fields, a wagon in the background and two girls (presumably Laura and Mary) in the foreground.

Today the novel stands as an example of the romanticisation of the movement west, and its continuing popularity in the USA illustrates how Americans still want to believe the idyllic depiction of the American West.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Chapter 14 - Indian Camp

1) The hardships that are portrayed in this chapter mostly consist of a natural source, for instance they complain about the relentless heat killing of most of the vegetation.

2) The girls view on the Native Americans seems to be very out of character for a protagonist based in a western novel, as the girls are very at peace with the Natives in this chapter, when they are asked if they would like to see the Indian camp there is nothing but excitement. The Natives are seen as something to learn and to explore from the girls prospective.

3)   The role of Gender is very consistent with the genre as Ma is left to make supper and to milk the cows, whilst Pa accompanies the girls to the Indian camp as a guide and protection. The girls themselves don't portray a feminist role in this chapter, when they arrive at the camp they are distracted by the beads they find on the floor and are more attentive to collecting them rather than exploring the camp itself.

4) The book "Little House on the Prairie" is designed to be a book for children with easily understood language but helps many readers to understand the difficulties the pioneers of the west suffered through.    

Chapter 11 "Indians in the House"

1) the Ingall's family have to deal with many hardship when moving to Kansas. The lack of food and the threat of the Indians is a particular worry in this chapter.

2) In the chapter, Indians come to the house while Pa is away hunting and take food and tabacco, there is a focus on how they look and the descriptions make them seem frightening and intimidating to the children and their mother. They are described; multiple times, as both “wild” and “Terrible” and as having “eyes like a snakes”. Despite Pa’s more excepting view of the Indians their overall description in the chapter is negative, they are depicted as thieves and are described in a rather animalistic way; they make "harsh sounds" and carrying skunk pelts that smell bad,  Laura's wish to set Jack loose so he could  “kill" them is particularly shocking and it seems quite a violent thought for a young girl to have. This shows the attitude of the characters towards the native Americans and the prejudice they feel.

3) The gender roles in this chapter seem fairly unprogressive in terms of Ma and Pa. Pa is the one who goes hunting for food, and when Pa leaves he puts Jack the dog in charge of minding the house instead of Ma. Ma and the girls are seen as unable to defend the house against the Indians, who take their tobacco and food.  Laura as a character is more progressive,  when the Indians come to the house the girls stay by Jack for protection but eventually Laura insists on going into the house to try and protect Ma even though there is little she can do to stop them, though she hides when she gets inside the act of leaving the post where jack is tied shows her bravery as a character.

4)  The book is obviously intended for younger readers and the the pink title and illustration on the cover suggests that the book is being targeted towards young girls and possible people who have seen the TV series. The blurb describes the book as a "classic" and "timeless", the Ingall' are also described as "America’s best-loved pioneer family", this and the recent cover redesign shows that the publishers  still see the book as being relevant and marketable to a new generation of children.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Fire in the Chimney - Gender Roles

I have decided to look at chapter 16, Fire in the Chimney and analyse it while using the topic of gender roles.

The chapter starts with the writer talking about Pa. She describes Pa as having to go into the 'Big Woods' to cut Hay and then cure it. A typical job for a man to do as it would have been labour intensive. But on the Prairie he didn't have to. Laura Ingalls Wilder is writing that her father would work throughout the summer to try and keep his family alive in the winter. Collecting Hay, Wood and Meat to they could live to see the next.

While Pa was hunting for meats and pelts the 3 girls and Ma where inside the house. Ma was looking after the baby and singing to her. The house then catches on fire. Although her mother tells her not to do anything Laura saves her two sisters from burning alive. Although she was told by her mother to stay away she disobeyed her mothers orders. For a child, especially a daughter to do this would have been a big deal within the American society and would have gone against the idea that young women were meant to follow orders. She also puts herself in danger which would have been something that women at this time would have maybe  been scared to do ( Mary doesn't move from the rocking chair even though the house is falling down around her)

Pa has to go into town, which as the writer had perviously stated takes two days to get there. This commitment to going into town to get his family the essentials to make his families life better. A fathers role in the house is to provide for his family no matter how hard they must try. 40 miles on a horse takes two days and it is said that he is going often. This shows a commitment on Pa behalf in trying to keep his family alive and together.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Nothing from Luke, nothing from PJ, nothing from Ruth, and only Millie has actually done what was asked for.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Analysis Anna Yezierka short stories

The moral Lesson in the story The Lost 'Beautifulness' is one that can be seen as keeping your success to your self. Hanneh Heyyeh Earns some extra money by working some extra work. With the money she decorates her kitchen before her son returns home. Being so proud of what she's done she shows everyone she knows her beautiful home. This leads the landlord to believe that she is richer than she is and  uses it as an opportunity to up her rent that and the fact that she has improved a house leads to her being evicted because she can't pay her rent.

I feel that the moral of the story is that you should always be humble in your success. Hanneh shows of her kitchen to everyone because she is proud that she has worked hard and was able to afford paint to make her room better. But buy doing this she has done two things. Shown the landlord that she has money to decorate her room (Which she doesn't) She also has improved something that wasn't her. She is naive to the way that American businessmen will treat tenants to get a profit. The Moral of the story is that you can't be 

Analysis of Anna Yezierka short stories

The Lost Beautifulness 
To write about the morality of this story would be barely possible as it nothing but a tale of misfortune and injustice. The main crux of the story line is a poor immigrant of the name Hanneh who wishes to  be part of a system and society that seems to be fixed on excluding her and anyone of her class as stated by her Landlord "In America everybody looks out for himself" this said in a time when almost all men were fighting the same war, against the same enemy, in the same living conditions despite their class. Though Hanneh praises and idolizes Democracy and the supposed equality of it she is met with the bitterness of reality played by her husband and the Landlord If there are any moral lessons to be learnt from this short story it could be either, don't try to be something your not or no matter how small you are you lose.

Soap and Water 
Soap and water is the story in comparison to The Lost Beautilfulness is slightly more uplifting proving that hard work does pay off though it could be argued the protagonist must work harder for the same accomplishments than her peers due to the fact her dean attempts to withhold her diploma for the way she dresses. Again we do see the clear class divide and the very little empathy that is shown from those at the top of this hierarchy but the a moral lesson that can be taken from this passage would be perverseness, hard work and a bit of luck will pay off for some. To counter the cold heartiness of the upper class the protagonist is comforted by her encounters by an American women exactly like The Lost Beautilfulness just like in the short story before it is through these women that the hope of equality is kept alive.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Anna Yezierka's short stories

What are the moral lessons in each story and how would you account for their meaning to immigrants?

The Lost 'Beautifulness'
In The Lost 'Beautifulness', we are told the story of an immigrant woman, Hanneh Heyyeh, living in a small, cheap, run-down apartment. A lover of beauty, Hanneh saves up the money she earns from doing laundry for richer people to buy some paint, which she uses to paint her apartment for her son's return.

Hanneh proudly shows off her work to everyone she knows, including her landlord, who takes the opportunity to capitalise on the new attractiveness of the place and adds $5 to her monthly rent, which she struggles to afford. Although she disputes the increase, she is eventually evicted from her apartment.

This story is clearly illustrating the negative effects of the capitalist society of the USA, and the ways in which the bourgeois Americans exploit the immigrants. Hanneh deeply loves both beauty and her son, and the capitalist landlord takes advantage of that, by increasing her rent, clearly demonstrating that he cares more about taking the opportunity to earn more money than he does about his tenants.

Soap and Water
This story is told from the first-person perspective of a Russian immigrant, who specifies neither their name or their gender. By not specifying either of these, Yezierka allows more readers to identify with the character, implying through their lack of specific identity that the character could be anybody.

The character tells the story of how they attempted to do what Americans described as the path to success - they worked hard, with a low-paying job doing laundry for the bourgeois every morning and every evening, and they studied hard, going to college during the day. Despite all their hard work, the character is declined their diploma not because of the quality of their work, but because of their self-presentation - by working from waking until sleeping, the character has no time to wash, and despite the hours put into their job, they are paid so low that they cannot afford to live somewhere with a bath.

Through this story, Yezierka is illustrating the hypocrisy of the bourgeois, showing how they value appearance and presentation over effort and heart, and do not take other people's situations into account - the character talks about how the dean of the college berates them for not washing, saying that "soap and water are cheap," not considering that the character has no access to a bath, or time to wash.

Unlike The Lost 'Beautifulness', this story ends on a happier note - the character, after many years, finds Miss Van Ness, a teacher from their college who had always been kind to them. Just this simple act of friendship from Miss Van Ness is spectacular to the character - by simply making a friend and having the opportunity to tell their story, the character believes that they have "found America".

Stephen G. Lonefeather, "The Deputy of Allentown"

The Deputy of Allentown is told from the point of view of a retired deputy, watching out the window as the current deputy, Dave, is involved in a skirmish involving the girl he loves, Lilly, and a bank robber, Charlie.

The narrator describes how Dave was known as Midge in his youth, due to his short height. Dave was once a bandit, but quit his criminal life when he fell in love with Lilly, taking up the role of deputy sheriff in Allentown. The narrator then describes the skirmish he is watching, which ends with Dave aiming his gun at Charlie, shooting just as Lilly, having fallen on the floor, begins to get up. The scene then changes, and it is revealed that none of this has really happened; Dave, Lilly, and Charlie are children, playing outside with rocks and toys.

This story is illustrating the idea that the Wild West is the product of imagination; that it is not dangerous, it is a place where children can play with their toys and pretend to have shoot-outs. The moment when Dave nearly shoots Lilly shows the children's lust for danger, and the blase way in which they act this out suggests that they have never actually experienced any event like this.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Searchers - closing scene

This closing scene of The Searchers features several parallels to the opening scene of the movie. In fact, the entire scene can be said to be the opening scene in reverse.

Opening scene:
1. Door opens
2. Ethan approaches from the wilderness
3. After many years apart, Ethan is reunited with the family
4. The family enters the house

Closing scene:
1. The family comes out of the house
2. After many years apart, Debbie is reunited with the family
3. Ethan retreats into the wilderness
4. Door closes.

There are key differences in terms of characters and attitudes - in this scene, we are with a different family, and they are less welcoming to Ethan. Whereas Ethan enters the house in the opening scene, in this scene he lingers on the threshold, before retreating back into the wilderness. As he retreats, the same song as was heard at the beginning of the movie plays. Specifically, as Ethan makes the decision to leave, the lyric "ride away" is repeated - echoing exactly what Ethan has decided to do. As Ethan walks further into the distance, his retreating figure becomes smaller and he begins to blend in with the mise-en-scene, suggesting that Ethan will always be a part of the wilderness. The shot ends with the closing of the door, graphically matching the very first shot of the movie, of a door opening.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Opening scene

The opening scene of the film although short, does show many things that have become famously identified as western. It starts with a shot of a woman opening the door to her house, you see a lovely shot of a landscape that can be instantly identified as being the American west.

She leaves the house and starts to look into the distance. we are then get a shot that is from her point of view where we can see nothing but land from the foreground to the horizon yet. all we can see is a single horse slowly coming towards her.

The next image is one of the classic Lone cowboy, looking run down. It is clear that this man will be the main character of the film. In one shot you can see that he is going to be the flawed hero figure that most westerns have. He is alone and looks run down. Possibly hinting at he is an outcasted man who has a past that is covered in both mystery and is black.

As she leaves the house we find out that she and her daughter were inside while the husband and son were outside working the land. This would have been something that was very true of the west. The women would stay in the house, preparing food, repairing clothes and being the overall homemaker while the men would be out in the fields making fences, looking after livestock.

Although the opening sequence is short. I do feel it in captures a vast amount of the Western myth within it.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Searchers

There’s a scene in which Ethan and Martin are taken to three white woman who have been in Indian captivity in the hopes of finding Debbie, she is not with them but we see that the women have been driven mad by their time with the Comanche.

 This scene is important as it foreshadows their eventual meeting with Debbie. They have not seen her since she was captured and this is their first encounter with people who have been through what she has, and this encounter therefore shows them how she may be when she is found.

 Ethan’s believes that the women  "ain’t white. Not any more. They’re Comanch” he views Debbie in the same way; no longer white and therefore not worth saving . Ethan's reaction upon seeing the women, and lack of sympathy for them shows his contempt towards Native Americans and is similar to his attitude towards Martin, because both Martin and these women have come into contact with native Americans; or have native American ancestry in Martin’s case, they have been contaminated in his eyes.

The scene also shows the films conflicting portrayal of native Americans. We are not meant to necessarily  sympathize with Ethan's view but, the scene does not contradict it, the women have been negatively effected by the Native Americans seemingly reinforcing Ethan’s ideas of Native Americans.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

The Searches 1956 - Rev/Cap and Being Sworn In Scene

The scene I have picked for this weeks blog post is when the first attack on a near by ranch has taken place and the rev/captain Samuel Johnston Clayton forces the men into joining a temporary squad of law enforcement. 

During this scene a couple of western themes are challenged the most prominent being that of protagonist as a two dimensional hero. Here Ethan played John Wayne is questioned on his past by the reverend, this is shown as soon as the two characters are being reintroduced with the reverend calling him the "prodigal brother" as the very definition of prodigal is someone who is wasteful or reckless. Instantly they both hark back to the days of the civil war where Samuel quips that Ethan was absent on the day of the surrender, this is not the first time that Ethan's past had been questioned in the film but it does help to reinforce the idea that he is not the all American hero we are used to in westerns. After Ethan steps in for his brother the two then lock horns over the oath as Ethan claims it "wouldn't be legal anyway" again the two men are engaged in a long silent staring contest which ironically is very common of the western genre, when asked if Ethan is wanted for a crime its met by another long silence until Ethan criticizes the reverend for his loyalty to the federal government. 

Also the theme of masculinity is brought into play but only subtly, this is demonstrated when Ethan takes Aaron's place claiming if there is an attack by Indians, Aaron should stay back implying that the women are incapable of defending the home. This theme defiantly conforms with the norms of the genre especially in this scene, with the men arriving into the cabin and being swarmed by the women make sure they are fed and rested. 

This scene does lend itself to the myth of the western genre through the given hatred towards native Americans, as they show an intense fear when Ethan proposes the attack could well have come from a local tribe.  

Another issue this film raises again only in a subtle way is that of Americas laws and close relation to Christianity in modern times (1956) as in the norms of the western genre the parts of clergymen and law enforce are normally separate but here are played by the same actor this may well be a reference to this very problem.  

To add to the complexity of Ethan's character there does seem to be an odd connection between him and Aaron's wife, this has led to theories that the two had an affair and that Debbie is in fact Ethan's daughter. If this what the writers had planned then it would very much go against the classic western hero such as "Shane"  a man that could do no wrong apposed to "The Searches" where we find a flawed protagonist that could be on his way to seek out redemption or vengeance.  

Monday, 16 February 2015

The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven was filmed and released in 1960 and is regarded to be one of the greatest and classic depiction of America's Old West even though it is a re make of the Japanese film the "Seven Samurai". The Plot is about a small Mexican village that has been desalted  by a horde of bandits in the area and how these people are forced into seeking help. The people of this village set out to America in search of a hero or hero's that can save them. What they end up with are the seven protagonists that the film is based upon each one excepting the job for their own reasons.

Minnesota Clay (1964)

Minnesota clay is a spaghetti western from 1962 directed by Sergio Corbucci

The plot is a simple one, an ex gunslinger is imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. He escapes by taking the prison doctor hostage and runs to Mexico to seek revenge on the man who withheld evidence that proved that he was innocent.

The plot line itself is one that can be easily identified as a western, The hero must get back his honour by revenging the wrongs that had been placed upon him. He is also now a fugitive of the law which creates a 'him against the world' vibe to the film. This is definitely they case later on in the film when Clay must overcome the threat of both Fox and the Mexican bandits trying to kill him.

Clay enters the town that he was once sheriff of. He finds that the man he believes that framed him. Fox is hired by the town to protect them from the Mexican bandits that are raiding the town. Fox charges a high 'protection tax' on the towns people  with little reward as the raids are becoming more frequent, which creates tension between them and him.

The film is full of many different iconic Western scenes. early in the film Clay helps a young lady who is being attacked while riding a cart. This is something that was very common in westerns at the time as it created a scene that had both movement and action, something that was very different to a fight scene in a bar or a street that may be very static.

The film also possesses a emotional tone to it. Clay returns to his old town to find that his daughter is in custody of  his best friends after the death of his wife. There is  a very moving scene where Clay is shown a picture of his later wife and he weeps. As Clay is an ageing gunslinger he has an awful lot of health issues but the one that is the worst is his sight. He becomes blind later in the film which adds another dimension to his character. He must over come many obstacles to again his revenge or even his redemption.

The film clearly has classic western scenery. A mixture of grassy plains, dusty towns, rocky mountains and blue lakes are seen through the film. However the director never really focuses on them. He doesn't rely on the terrain of the west to give the 'image' of the west but rather relies on his story and character development.

The endings sees a shoot out between Clay and Fox where both men are killed. The final scene sees Clay lying on the floor of the town with his daughter Nancy running towards him. Although the scene is a simple one, it has great emotional value. Clay has achieved what he wanted but has also achieved something much greater, redemption.

Overall I would say that Minnesota Clay is a good western film. It is full of excitement and has a very strong emotional tone to it that many B rated westerns wouldn't have had.
About an hour before the group and Harry, Ed and PJ you have not posted anything.

Some of the posts made are not exactly famous or mainstream westerns, but we will try to find something to say about them.

Way Out West (1937)

"A prospector enlists Stan (Stan Laurel) and Ollie (Oliver Hardy) to deliver the deed to a goldmine to his daughter Mary (Rosina Lawrence) in Brushwood Gulch. When they arrive in the small village and enter the local saloon, Mary's sinister guardian (Sharon Lynne) pretends to be Mary, thus fooling the hapless duo into handing over the deed. Upon meeting the real Mary, the pair realizes their mistake and sets about getting the deed into the rightful owner's hands."

'Way Out West' is perhaps one of the best Laurel & Hardy films; fans and film critics alike hold the film in high regard and for good reason. The film takes place in the west; a land untamed and made strictly for 'MEN'. Stan and Ollie are the polar opposites of what the West embodies, it challenged Americans perception of the West but only to certain degree, the film still upholds traditional western values and if the ending is anything to go by, the West is still only for MEN. The ending sees both Stan and Ollie fleeing the Western town dodging numerous gunshots. 

To look at this film in terms of the representation of the West, one only has to look at the plot to see that this is your classic western regardless of its genre. The cruel yet exciting nature of the film shows the audience everything they want to see from a western. When Mary is impersonated, it is a way of showing the audience the pure wickedness of the West. You must be cunning if you wish survive.

Sunday, 15 February 2015


Unforgiven is about the town Big Whisky, where a prostitute is brutally attacked by a cowboy, and after the sheriff fails to adequately punish the men responsible, the town prostitutes band together to raise a bounty to put against them. The reward attracts the attention of an amateur bounty hunter, who partners up with the retired gunslinger Will Munny who has given up his life of violence to look after his two children after the death of his wife.

Unforgiven is a deconstruction of the Hollywood sanitised, romanticised image of the West, the film is purposely  morally ambiguous, and there are no clear cut lines between good and evil. This is particularly evident in the character of Munny who is a anti-hero and a symbol of the Death of the west as he has been civilised by his wife and family but,  is roped back into a life of violence. Though his intentions may be noble and he may treat the women of the town with kindness and respect he; in many ways, reverts to his old ways, showing the true nature of violence and its  irreversible effect on man. 

The film both stars and is directed by Clint Eastwood and is a reflection  of, his own career in westerns and, there declining popularity at the time of its release. In spite of this, Unforgiven was a critical and commercial success and is arguably a modern masterpiece considered; by some, to be the last Western.

George Catlin - Sioux War Council

This painting was painted by George Catlin in 1848. It depicts the Sioux war council gathered debating a topic of some sort. This isn't showing the great American Landscape but is one of the first paintings and evidence of the native people of America.  George Catlin journeyed the American West five times during the 1830's and was the first artist to visually record any sign of Native Americans. These paintings were taken around the country to create an accurate and scientific account of these people, though shunned by the American people Catlin took his work abroad i.e. Europe where it received a much more welcoming reception by critics and the general public.

The Gambler Wore a Gun (1961)

The Gambler Wore a Gun is a 1961 Western film directed by Edward L. Cahn and starring James Davis.

Davis plays Case Silverthorne, a professional gambler from the East who decides to quit gambling and move to the West. He purchases a ranch through the mail, but upon arrival, finds Will Donovan, the man who sold him the ranch, hung up on a tree. The film follows Case as he discovers that Donovan's grown son and daughter, Jud and Sharon, have no idea their ranch has been sold. This leads Jud to discover that Will was killed by three cattle rustlers pretending to be ranch hands. Jud confronts the rustlers, only to be shot, and Case framed for the murder. With the help of Sharon and Marshal Dex Harwood, Case proves the ranch and the cattle to be his, culminating in a shoot-out between Sharon, Case, and the Marshal, and the three cattle rustlers. Case et al are victorious, and Case settles in to his new life in the ranch with Sharon.

The Gambler uses all the typical iconography of the Western, such as the saloon, the ranch, stetson hats, guns, and horses. Although the story is initially about Case's efforts to prove his claim to the ranch, it becomes a revenge story, as Jud seeks revenge for his father's death, then Case and Sharon seek revenge for both Will and Jud's deaths. Arguably, the sub-genre of this film is that of the man of honour, as Case develops from a gambler to an honest man. A link is implied between the West and honesty; Case was a dishonest gambler in the East, and his decision to quit goes hand-in-hand with his decision to move west. Additionally, the law is emphasised greatly; Case's claim to the ranch is believed as soon as he produces the letter in Will's handwriting promising him the ranch; after Case strays and finds himself gambling again, he realises the error of his ways and gives Jud back the $300 he had lost; even the cattle rustlers, in the final confrontation, admit the bill of sale as legitimate.

Clip: In the final scene of the movie, the legalities of ownership are emphasised as the last note - before the big kiss.

As opposed to the typical hero-excluded-from-society trope, Case's fate is the opposite - at the beginning and throughout the film, he is already an outsider: new in town, and demonised by the citizens when they think he has killed Jud. The only people on his side are Dex and Sharon, who help him defeat the rustlers and prove both his innocence and his claim.

A character of interest to me was Sharon; although she is the only woman in the film, and clearly has her domestic role - until the climax, she is not seen outside the house setting - she is represented well. After Jud leaves to find the Marshal, Sharon is worried about attack from the rustlers; when Case and Dex knock on her door, instead of hiding, she confronts her visitors with a rifle in her hand. In that same scene, Case tells her that Jud is dead and he's going after the rustlers. Sharon immediately chooses to confront them too, with little protest from the men. Approaching the hill the rustlers are hiding out on, we see Sharon is wearing trousers, not a skirt, and sits atop the horse normally, instead of side-saddle. Even during the climactic shoot-out, Sharon is the one to give the final shot, killing the last rustler.

Monday, 9 February 2015

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Thomas Moran, 1872

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Thomas Moran, 1872

The photo above is called the grand canyon of the Yellowstone; it was painted by Thomas Moran in 1872. Thomas Moran earned his nickname “Father of the National Park System" because of the influence created by his paintings had on the emergence of Western tourism and on the members of Congress to establish the Yellowstone region as the first national park in 1872.  This painting which is his interpretation of the view of the Lower Falls through the deep chasm of yellowish-red sulphur-stained rock is which earned Yellowstone its name. From over 30 sites Moran visually documented in the Yellowstone Valley, this area of the park captured him most. He would spend a lot of time at the canyon, sketching from every angle possible to find the perfect moment to replicate, studying the geology of the area and the way the light played on the rocks to capture true detail of the gorge.  

The image shows the gorge being fed with light while the surrounding is a lot darker, this shows that after the gorge the landscape opens to miles of land, and it enforces the understanding that the west contains its beauty’s but it also has its mystery and danger, showing the darkness to hold the unknown. Without going unnoticed the image holds 2 people standing on a cliff looking out over the gorge, this is used to reinforce the enormity of the canyon, telling the audience that we are merely ants compared to the vast depths of nature.