One may say that “At the Buffalo Bill Museum, 1988” by author Jane Tompkins is a timeless work that openly questions the morality of human behavior in the Western Era of American history. However, it is none other than a wordy diary entry. Tompkins comes off as snooty, conceited, and a bit of a snob. Throughout the essay, up until the end, Doctor Tompkins tried to force her thoughts down the reader’s throats. Tompkins attempt to explore with the reader quickly turns into 13 pages of preaching her own ideas. Perhaps, however, I am not the best judge of her essay. I was not entertained by her writing, but given her audience are most likely other professors or English scholars she did cover Ed Weathers Rules well.
What do we mean by explore when we talk about doing so as a purpose for a writing piece? Tompkins is attempting to grab the readers hand and pull them through the doors of these museums. Conversation comes to mind when reading this essay. The author is giving the reader food for thought and we as readers are supposed to make up our own minds as to what we think about a picture, painting, sculpture, etc. This idea of answering questions brought to you by Doctor Tompkins is shown here in reference to a painting of a horse that appears to be bound in some cruel way, “His First Lesson. Whose? And what lesson, exactly? How to stand still when terrified? How not to break away when they come at you with strange instruments? How to be obedient? How to behave?” (Tompkins 415). To a person like me these questions are no more than wasted lines, however, to the intended audience these questions fuel the mind to continue to be engaged in the essay. What ruined my ability to read this essay with enthusiasm is specific to page 416 when she says, “They are imperialist and racist; they glorify war and the torture of killing animals,” (416). Opinion is what this description of a Remington painting is. To me as a reader I find... [continues]
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