True Grit Essay

1408 words - 6 pages

The American western frontier, still arguably existent today, has presented a standard of living and characteristics which, for a time, where all its own. Several authors of various works regarding these characteristics and the obvious border set up along the western and eastern sections have discussed their opinions of the west. In addition to these literary works by renowned authors, one rather convenient cinematic reference has also been influenced by these well-known, well-discussed practices of this American frontier. “True Grit”, a film recently remade in 2010 by the Cohen Brothers, crosses the boundaries of the west allowing all movie-goers to capture one idea of the western world. The movie, along with a few scholarly sources which will also be discussed offer a more ideal glimpse into the past of the western lands. The true nature of the west, both refuted and supported, is characterized well through the author’s dictation as well as the Hollywood interpretation introducing the land’s distinction between savagery vs. civilization, law vs. chaos, and loyalty vs. independence.
When addressing savagery and civilization “True Grit” takes a strong hold on reality versus falsehood in the landscapes of the scenes depicted, the attire, and of course the surrounding citizens. Mattie Ross, coming from a seemingly rural area compared to most of the day, is brought into what seems to be city life according to Western standards. Many ideas are presented early in Mattie’s encounter with this new territory which would hint towards a violent, uncivilized, godless country not like that of her home. However, through later engagements, a different side of the West creeps through when the judicial system is introduced in the film along with several lawmen of the area. This idea would coincide with Thomas J. Dilorenzo’s opinion stating, unlike the common belief of the violent West, “Private agencies provided the necessary basis for an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts were resolved”. The hanging before this court scene, on the other hand, proves the philosophies that, while the westerners may not have had quarrels with each other, they had plenty of violent feuds with the Native Indians already inhabiting the lands. In fact, most Civil War Veterans believed the Indians to be “subhuman and racially inferior to whites and therefore deserving of extermination if they could not be controlled by the white population” (Dilorenzo, 2010). The hanging scene simply depicts this hatred blatantly shown towards the Natives. Three men were going to be hanged but only two were allowed to make their final address to the ever-watchful. The two white males had their final words but as the Native man began to speak the hangman silenced him abruptly with a potato sac not allowing him the same respect given to the other men. Amazingly enough, the overall scene of the hanging was rather organized and a good view of the town square was...

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