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The Virginian

Westerns

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1brickhorse
Mar 13, 2012, 1:11pm Top

I started it yesterday and am on page 3. So far, it has human nature pegged! That first scene could be put into a modern book or film, or into a real life interaction. I can see a hip-hop dude gently teasing an elder, while a stranger observes the exchange, and then, the dude steps forward to the stranger and says, "I am here to pick you up," with trepidation on the stranger's part. Realism and a good story. You know, The Virginian by Owen Wister and works by some other Western writers are as much classics as those written by Jane Austen or Charles Dickens. They just haven't gotten the respect they deserve. I would like to take a class where the Western is the focus as great literature. I am sure someone has developed such a course. If not, maybe I will....

2fuzzi
Mar 13, 2012, 7:03pm Top

I'd be interested in studying more about Westerns.

I'm reading The Virginian, too, but am farther along.

There's a famous line coming up, during the card game...watch for it!

3brickhorse
Mar 15, 2012, 2:59pm Top

"If you're going to call me that, smile." I think that's verbatim. Very effective. I like that the narrator says the letter is determined by the spirit. The story was originally written in 1902, which shows in the writing style. It's not possible for me to read it fast.

4fuzzi
Mar 15, 2012, 6:57pm Top

Don't read it fast, there's so much in it to enjoy!

I believe that the misquote by Hollywood is "Smile when you say that, mister!"

5brickhorse
Edited: Mar 20, 2012, 7:06pm Top

I told my mother I was reading The Virginian, and she said that she had read it as a girl in 1940. So we started discussing it, based on my unfinished reading of it and her 72-year old memory of it. She said, "I'm going to download it on my Kindle and read it!" She is 82 years old, the story is 110 years old, and the Kindle she got for Christmas last year. This is a sign of our times. I wonder what the Virginian would have to say about that?

6fuzzi
Mar 21, 2012, 7:31am Top

That's nice, brickhorse. I like a story that young and old alike can enjoy.

I picked up The Virginian again, last night, and got so involved I had a hard time putting it down...I need more coffee this morning, I was up way too late! (and I didn't even finish it!)

7brickhorse
Mar 22, 2012, 12:51pm Top

It's exciting to me that people are still reading this classic and finding it as engrossing as I find it. I'm on the train and the Virginian and Trampas are having their power struggle over the cowhands going to Rawhide or the Judge's ranch. Very interesting. I'm going to reread it after I get to the end of that section because I am sure I'm missing subtlties that I'll catch once I know the outcome.

8fuzzi
Mar 22, 2012, 12:55pm Top

I finished reading The Virginian last night, and again, I stayed up way too late...this time in order to get to the end.

It's a very good book, I am keeping a copy on my shelf for a reread in the future.

9brickhorse
Edited: Mar 27, 2012, 4:33pm Top

I finally reached a point that kept me up way too late last night, the tale of Pedro. It was an appropos lesson for me, who is getting pressured to sell one of my mares. Today I thought of a possible solution: leasing her as a broodmare to a friend of mine. He can feed her and ride her and she can make awesome foals from his stallion. Anyway, it helped me find a different solution beyond sale. Pedro was not in vain.

10fuzzi
Mar 27, 2012, 1:05pm Top

brickhorse, what a great story to share!

Hopefully, your friend will take good care of your mare. :)

11brickhorse
Mar 29, 2012, 1:25pm Top

I'm still going through it slowly. It's one I'm trying to savor, rather than fly through like I usually do. I'm keeping my copy too, although the cover came off so I'll have to use a rubber band to keep it together on the shelf.

12brickhorse
Apr 2, 2012, 12:57pm Top

I'm coming up toward the end of the story, with less than 100 pages to go. As a writer I can see some of the literary methods the author is using to move the story forward, to show character development, and to build tension. The character the Virginian is a icon for the sensitive manly man, IMO. I ordered the book West of Everything: the Inner Life of Westerns. I want to read what this author has to say about The Virginian; she's an academic and critically analyzing Westerns from a popular culture perspective. Reckon I'll see what she's got to say and whether I agree with her.

13fuzzi
Apr 2, 2012, 12:59pm Top

Do post when you're read that book, brickhorse. I'd be interested in what the author says.

14brickhorse
Apr 6, 2012, 12:45pm Top

I finished the book, and it is definitely a classic. Clearly it was written when "benevolent" racism was considered acceptable (in particular the passage that compares lynching of "Southern negroes" with lynching cattle rustlers; and, passages about "Indian chiefs" who were childishly agreeable). As far as the Western aspect, I liked the story, although the loving condescension toward Molly as a woman with a woman's understanding was once again rooted in a particular time. But yes, it was a good story and I look forward to reading its critical analysis in The West of Everything book.

Group: Westerns

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