Iconographic Elements of the Western Genre


1.         setting


            a.         Modes of transportation:  the stagecoach itself as an emblem of progress, expansion

            b.         towns:  their presentation, functions, characteristics

            c.         Indians


2.         the frontier as a meeting of old and new sets off a resulting series of oppositions


                                    East                                        West


                                    culture                                   nature

                                    past                                        future


                                    community                           individuality

                                    law                                          practicality


                                    "refinement"                        "savagery"


3.         the hero:  his/her acts validate possibilities the frontier stands for


            a.         characteristics and functions:  his/her image; relation to society

            b.         evolution of the notion of heroism


4.         the law:  codes (civil; criminal; moral)


            a.         representatives

            b.         values underlying the law


5.         society


            a.         "types" in Ford films (as opposed to "stereotypes")

            b.         social arenas:  what defines them; functions

            c.         social rituals and the community:  means of emphasis and significance in Ford's essentially rational view of society