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Master Narrative: Photo Analysis

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Dominique Jackson

on 8 February 2013

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Transcript of Master Narrative: Photo Analysis

Wild Wild West The image displays how Buffalo Bill has become the "hero" for killing the Indian man. Bill appears victorious and holds his new most prized possession up proudly. In his left hand the scalp, blood, and head piece of an Indian man. A picture with the title "Jolly Boatmen". The title is self explanatory since these boatmen seem pretty jolly as they travel down the river. They make it seem as though the west is a great place to be. But one thing to notice is that there are no boat-women with them. This photograph shows women played no authoritative role in the Wild Wild West. This picture attracts the thought that westward expansion was a peaceful process that ended only in good things and its continuation was for the better. TEXT ABOUT THIS PICTURE There are two principle Master Narratives that describe the time of Western expansion and the frontier. While both narratives glorify the American west, they tell different stories.
The first account views the simplicity of pioneer life as progress in defining the American Story. The second is an account of the wildness of the wilderness and America's ability to overcome its obstacles. Which one is right, however, depends on the listener. Although there are two distinct ways to interpret the Master Narrative of westward expansion in America, the one that is most influential in telling the story American expansion into the Wild Wild West is the narrative that glorifies domination over Indians.

Even in the photographs that portray a peaceful outlook on westward expansion through the idea that pioneers are being American by inhabiting uncivilized land and returning to their roots of primitive life on this land, they achieve this relationship through heroic domination. As our photographs show, the progression from pure and natural representations of the Wild Wild West to depicting the heroism and strength tips the balance and causes the latter end of the Master Narrative to be more dominant. Top left corner: men in Kentucky with guns pointing towards the mountains in the distance. The bottom right corner: men in California living a simple life, working the land. This painting depicts pioneers traveling in covered wagons off into the horizon. •Inevitability of sunrise ...to the ax, bow, and arrow in the top right corner portrays the idea of regressing in civilization to a simpler life. The juxtaposition of the guns in the bottom left corner... On one side of the train tracks, the settlers are building a community with houses and a school Many other settlers are headed into the vast and seemingly endless West On the other side of the train tracks, there are mountains and a pond, no civilizations, just nature. There are also Indians on the other side of the train tracks, but they cannot see the West because the train's smoke is blocking their view. This woman exerts her power over Indians, who are dominated and killed in this depiction, with an axe in her arm. This is showing how even in a society where women do not have acknowledged strength or authority, Indians are so far below them that in comparison, the woman is made to look like a strong hero. The fallen axe represents the Indians' power which is now dead, along with them. In his right, a knife stained with his blood. The blank and saddened expression on the Indian man's face shows defeat and remorse for the loss of his fellow Indians. Approaching in the background seems to be the rest of the Indian army coming to continue this battle that Buffalo Bill has started. Because this scene takes place in an American pioneer's home, the artist depicts Indians as encroaching on the white people's territory and home. The juxtaposition of the Indian man laying at his feet, with his weapons next to him, suggests how Bill felt that Indians were always below them. It conveys how the simplest weapon such as a knife can do more than any other advanced ones. Bill's wardrobe suggest the importance of this battle. His facial expression expresses his accomplishment in a more serious way. This picture illustrates and glorifies the spread of progress by displaying the boats, factories, and civilization(all factors of expansion) in warm, glowing sunlight. It faces an empty body of water shadowed in clouds, bleak and cheerless because of the lack of people there. The civilization and expansion on land has seemingly pushed the clouds away peacefully,and the boat will continue to roll them away, as it enters unpopulated territory. The crisp white mountain top represents the purity and openness of new life in the west. People enjoying nature beside a vast valley and waterfall represent the closeness with nature pf the population of the west. Americans are destined to occupy this wide open land.
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