The 1949 novel Shane by Jack Schaefer, is the story of a cowboy, who rode into a small town in Wyoming in the summer of ’89 by the name of Shane. Little did the people of that town know that Shane would soon change all of their lives forever. In this western novel, Shane represents the character that plays the American Western Hero which is a character that is shown in many different books, movies, and tall-tales. It is a character that America has come to not only know and love, but also to rely on. The character Shane is an excellent example of the American Western Hero in that he displays the three following characteristics described as those of an American Western Hero by various websites. Which include: compassion toward the downtrodden and takeing their side in a fight for survival, secondly, knowing the difference between right and wrong, and believing that good should always triumph over evil. The American Western hero will go out of his way to make sure it does. Lastly the American Western Hero stands alone and faces danger on his own against the forces of lawlessness. The American Western Hero is always a character that prevails and triumphs in the face of evil, making for a great story like Shane.
The first characteristic is found on the website westernauthors.com, this website states that the American Western Hero is compassionate toward the downtrodden and takes their side in a fight for survival. The downtrodden family of the story is the Starrett’s. Joe and Marian Starrett have moved to Wyoming with their son Bob under the Homestead Act. They have moved on to land once used by Luke Fletcher, the antagonist of the story. Luke is a rancher who once used the land to herd cattle. Luke has decided that he no longer needs the land, and has sold it to a few different families who are just starting out in the farming business. But recently Luke has changed his mind and wants to get back into the cattle herding business. Although the...
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