Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Wild West: Iconic in a Good or Bad way?

I have chosen two Iconic photos from the same time period of America. The Wild west. When most think of the Wild west their minds wander romantically to gun-slinging duels, saloon girls sporting feathers in their hair to bandits robbing from stage wagons. It was simply a simpler way of life where togetherness was key in the development of culture.

The reason I chose the Wild West as a positive iconic part of American culture is because it was a point in American history where law and culture developed hugely throughout the US, although the development was over two centuries it was vast through both the people and the government. I personally see the Wild west as a positive as the people (confederates) represented persistence when faced with uncomfortable changes. It was a time where ideas of unity and community were highly important. Whole towns would unite against crime and many would happily give their lives rushing into aiding the Sheriff of the town in catching bandits. The above picture demonstrates this idea of community, where people would join together to tackle animals like coyotes and wolves that would harm their livestock and money. Many Americans today look to the Wild west as an inspiration to see people in harsh climate and conditions working smartly together, something which they have neglected recently.

 However usually when you think of the Wild West your immediate attention is diverted to Saloons, stake outs and bandits, thoughts which can be seen as hugely negative.
Crime was rife throughout the West and although the law was enforced very well it was not without it's crookedness. This is evident in the photo to the right where a law man is watching a man hang, although it is unclear if this was caused by the law man it is powerful to see him doing nothing. Prostitution was also a large problem, it was one of the only ways for woman to make money in those time and 'working girls' are seen as one of the most shocking and sickening images of the Wild West. Many woman were abducted by bandits and it was very unsafe for a woman to walk around at any time of the day in any state of the West.

Jade Dalton

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