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Myth of the WesternNew Perspectives on Hollywood's Frontier Narrative$
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Matthew Carter

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748685585

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748685585.001.0001

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. Actors Transcending the Darkness

. Actors Transcending the Darkness

Chapter:
(p.194) 5. Actors Transcending the Darkness
Source:
Myth of the Western
Author(s):

Matthew Carter

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748685585.003.0006

This chapter develops the previous chapter's concerns, describing the borderlands setting of Joel Coen's No Country for Old Men as a term of both geographical and ideological reference. It also develops the theme of America's national identity in relation to the Western. It does this through recourse to The Searchers, as well as to more recent films with a contemporary setting. Like Three Burials, No Country has been regarded as a post-Western. This chapter scrutinises this appellation, providing a short account of the supposed historical development of the genre in this direction. It then discusses the allegorical significance of No Country in (de)constructing the cultural rhetoric behind early twenty-first-century US foreign policies. While certainly not comprising the whole of No Country's significance, a discussion of these issues does provide a critical inroad into the figure of the Western hero. The hero provides the lens by which the chapter observes how No Country utilises the Western's generic conventions in order to affect a critique of the cultural–ideological influence that the myth of the West still holds over the political trajectory of the United States in its self-assumed role as the world's figurative lawman.

Keywords:   Borderlands, Revisionist Western, Post-Western, Heroic Individualism, History, Political Allegory

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