The Narrative

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Jacques EpangueEnglish 101, 9M2
Professor Rolando JorifSpring 2013

The Narrative

In “About Men”, by Gretel Ehrlich, the author describes cowboys like men who seem to have trouble communicating with and relating to women, yet cling to an "adolescent dependency" on women to take care of them. This trouble of communication with women can be perceived by others as a sign of weakness even a lack of virility. However, according to Ehrlich it may be because of historical and geographical factors. Cowboys who are mostly from the South kept that "chivalrousness and strict codes of honor" when the came to the Wyoming. This is why men would show a stand-offish and respectful attitude vis-à-vis the women. Also, due to the geographical vastness of the North, cowboys often work where there is no human beings or women. He is physically and socially isolated which "make emotional evolution seem impossible". Therefore, if it happened that he feels something for a woman, he would have trouble communicating because he is not use to the code of seduction that average people know. And yet, "dancing wildly all night becomes a metaphor for the explosive emotions pent up inside, and when these are, on occasion, released, they're so battery-charged and potent that one caress of the face of one "I love you" will peal for a long while."

The attempt of the author to explain why the American cowboy tends to be rather reserved when it comes to seduce a woman squares well with her painting of his personality. Keep in mind that the purpose of her writing is to "reveal the complex nature of the American cowboy", so she tries to show how the stereotype of the cowboy does not reflect the reality. This man who is "usually thought of as a rugged and tough" individual, is not only full of manliness, but has his own kind of femininity reflected in his altruism, but also in his relationship with women, characterized by what the author names "Those contradictions of the heart...
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