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Genre

Definition: A class or category of texts that can be recognised by specific aspects of its subject
matter.

Types of Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Action, Horror, Supernatural, Adventure, Thriller,
Documentary, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Westerns etc.

Specific Aspects of Subject Matter in Westerns: Cowboys, Gunslingers, Colloquial language,


Speak in a drawl, Stance, American, Clothing, Saloons, Wenches, Sheriff, Male dominated,
Outlaws, Indigenous people, Guns & Shooting, Action, John Wayne, Desert landscape,

How are Westerns different from other literary genres?

Setting Historical basis


Clear sense of goodies and baddies
Most popular in 1940s/50s
The goodie always wins

What is required of the modern viewer in order to appreciate or enjoy westerns?

Some background knowledge of the era in which the text is set

Be prepared to accept the values of the text

Identify the development of Westerns from their inception through to the present.

Time Features/Characterisitics Actors


Period
1940s Traditional. Beginning films may have been in black & white. John Wayne
Goodie v Baddie. Frontier settlement. War against the native
Americans.
1950s Japanese influence on Westerns is seen by the way battle Ronald Reagan
reflects traditional Samurai weapons, movements and
techniques.
1960s Spaghetti Westerns- influence of the Italians in Westerns is Clint Eastwood
seen by
1970s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Paul Newman
Robert Redford
Present The conventions of westerns is applied to other settings as the
Day text is transformed eg Cowboys & Aliens, Back To The Future,
Wild, Wild West etc

Outline Expectations of each of the specific aspects.

Setting Characters Key Images Music


The desert where Cowboys are main Riding off into the sunset Folk songs are used to
characters. The good and as convey when
bad cowboys are clear travelling along on horses
established very early in
the text. Contrast in
clothing colour helps the
responder to determine
bad & good eg black &
white. They also walk in
a particular way that
is.
Early America which is Clothing indicates the A gun duel in the streets Suspenseful music as
reflected by role of the character in or.involving
the text. Type of hat
would determine
cowboys, city folk, high
society, professionals etc.
The Saloon Native Americans who The introduction of new At the conclusion of the
.(say something about innovations to a film
their role) developing society. Eg
clock, expansion of the
railway
A settlement town with Women are depicted Tumbleweed blowing in Digetic music could
dirt streets and as the streets reminds the include
responder that
Canyons The role of children Horses galloping across
reflects the context as the plains as they are
they are or.
Ranches The Sheriff and his Wagon Trains are a
deputies bring law to the common feature in as
town and are important they were used to. and
characters in many often
westerns as they
The American gold Archetypes are Locomotives are
rush of the 1840s universally understood indicative of
-1850s left many characters typify various happening in the West
mines abandoned and traits eg hero, villain,
westerns set after this victim, sidekick,
period often guardian, romantic
incorporated old mines interest. These are used
as hideouts. to
Predominantly male
characters who are rough
and tough because

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