Throughout her book [Tompkins] evidences a charm, honesty, and sense of intellectual adventure that would make her a happy pardner on a long ride....
And why do I love Miz Tompkins so much for bush-whacking the myth of the West inside me? - John Calvin Batchelor, Washington Post Book World Anyone who cares about American popular culture could profit from reading this masterpiece.
“Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love: I, with no rights in this matter, Neither father nor lover.
” Roethke illustrates the affiliation between the speaker and his student with this line.
The feminist perspective of West of Everything makes it invaluable to the ongoing critical discourse on Westerns.
- The San Francisco Chronicle Jane Tompkins knows her Western through and through; she handles details, events and scenes from novels and movies with skill and surety....Elegy For Jane By Theodore Roethke Theodore Roethke’s “Elegy for Jane” is a poem of a teacher’s reaction to the tragic death of one of his students, Jane.The speaker expresses his sentiments to his deceased student, allotting the fact that he had developed some kind of feeling towards Jane.It was as a reaction against popular women's novels and women's invasion of the public sphere that Westerns originated, Tompkins maintains.With Westerns, men were reclaiming cultural territory, countering the inwardness, spirituality, and domesticity of the sentimental writers, with a rough and tumble, secular, man-centered world.Are there some aspects of this topic which Tompkins omits from her discussion?Do you think the debate between impersonal and emotion-laden rhetorical methods solely of concern to women? Tompkins brings these insights to bear in considering film classics such as Red River and Lonely Are the Brave, and novels such as Louis L'Amour's Last of the Breed and Owen Wister's The Virginian.In one of the most moving chapters (chosen for Best American Essays of 1991), Tompkins shows how the life of Buffalo Bill Cody, killer of Native Americans and charismatic star of the Wild West show, evokes the contradictory feelings which the Western typically elicits—horror and fascination with violence, but also love and respect for the romantic ideal of the cowboy.However, when it comes to the point of forming close emotional ties, with developing feelings of romantic love, society would strike this as unacceptable.The speaker is aware of his inappropriate relationship, and because of this, he has no right to love her and is forced to distance himself from her. She had “a sidelong pickerel smile” and was a delight to converse with.