Group Blog Post 1

This link was really intriguing, because of the teaching methods that were discussed. One thought that was suggested was to put yourself in the shoes of settler and to attempt to write a letter home to an Easterner that would try give them insight into the new Western way-of-life. That section alone could be useful to our group project, because it could instantly start a discussion around what life was like in the American Westernization and how difficult it would have been to switch from the East to moving into the unsettled West. This was a Primary Source that also went on to talk about how immigrants were part of the new West, especially with their role in the settling of California.

As a secondary source, I have chosen to use the book “West of Everything” by Jane Tompkin, because this book serves as a historical novel. The fact that it is a historical novel creates an interesting perspective when trying to figure out whether to examine it as an English book or a historical book. Historically speaking, it talks about the role of women and the role that death played in the settling of the West. Through an English context, the story is a fiction that is written through a personal narrative that has characters that emulate historical figures such as Buffalo Bill and Zane Grey. This is similar to dime novels, because historical figures were often involved in the stories.

This dime novel, like many others, used historical figures and created their roles to be different than what they actually were in real life. The dime novel also makes Native Americans look like devilish, uncontrolled, uncivilized, savages based on the way they were drawn. They were colored with red faces and skeletons on their backs while they danced around a dead body this was one of the reasons that the West and Native Americans started to be stereotyped as a land full of uncivilized savages.

The image in this link that I am specifically discussing is the picture of Monument Valley. This picture focuses on openness and free space that embodies the West. It shows how open the West is and the image aims to make that the focus of the shot, because the sky is full. This image itself is very notorious for embodying the West and this landscape is one of the most popular images when talking about the West and its’ ideals. The image (on the same page) with the full moon has an extreme focus on the sky, which in the West is one of the most ideal images, because the sky becomes full of stars due to the fact that there is less light pollution. This is important to the project because images are one of the key insights for visualizing the West.

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