Karina J. Arnold
Personal Essay #3
Have you ever felt so strong about something that you are willing to fight for the cause? Have you ever felt like you’re the little guy in a losing battle? Have you ever struggled to make a living and then have your lively hood threatened? In the 1953 film, Shane the Starrett family and a traveling gunslinger endures just some of these challenges. As the film begins, you observe wide open pastures with mountains in the background. You then see a young man upon a horse riding through a field approaching a small farm. The gentleman’s body language puts you at ease. He carries a gun at his side, which can give you a sense of security or one of impending danger. His clean cut appearance helps to lean to a sense of security. The young gunslinger, Shane (Alan Ladd), quickly learns that there is an ongoing battle between Joe Starrett (Van Heflin), a homesteader, and Rufus Ryker (Emile Meyer), a ruthless cattleman. He interrupts a minor dispute between the two men, forcing Ryker and his boys to leave. This prompts Marian (Jean Arthur), Joe Starrett’s wife, and Joe to offer a warm meal in appreciation for his help with the job. Shane agrees to be Joe’s right hand man on the farm. The following morning, we observe Shane and Joe working together to remove an old tree stump. Joe talks about how he has worked on this particular stump for the past two years and has been unsuccessful in removing it himself. By the end of the night the two men have successfully removed the stump. I believe that this particular scene symbolizes a new beginning. Early in the film, we witness Ernie Wright (Leonard Strong), one of the older homesteaders, begins to express his desire to leave. You hear the hopeless in his voice as he tells Starrett about the troubles Ryker and his boys are causing. Starrett talks Ernie into staying and decides to call a meeting with the other homesteaders. In this scene, you feel as if you were...
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