Feelings of Ambivalence: Pulp Westerns and Popular Culture

Feelings of Ambivalence: Pulp Westerns and Popular Culture Craig Thompson I am going to attempt a pairing in this essay which may seem somewhat incongruous--Freud and two works by a pulp Western writer. Later, I will expand upon my motivations for using Freud (along with a bit of Jacques Lacan and Harold Bloom), but let me state at the outset that his discussion of ambivalence, especially as he employs it in Totem and Taboo (1913), is the aspect of Freud's theories which first led me to think about his relevance to portrayals of Native Americans on the frontier, and it remains for me the most intriguing aspect of his writings. On a broader scale, part of what I will be arguing, or at least suggesting, is that Freud's ideas may still provide a fresh and salutary framework for interpreting popular culture's depictions of American Indians. The specific author whose work I will be evaluating, and whose writing exemplifies this ambivalence, is Zane Grey. While his prose could be cringe worthy and his plots perfunctory, Grey was also a popular, prolific, and influential writer who produced over ninety books and whose work inspired movies and a television series. His depictions of Native Americans ranged from numbingly racist http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Southwest Southwest Center (Univ of Arizona)

Feelings of Ambivalence: Pulp Westerns and Popular Culture

Journal of the Southwest, Volume 55 (2)

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Publisher
Southwest Center (Univ of Arizona)
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Arizona Board of Regents
ISSN
2158-1371
Publisher site
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Abstract

Craig Thompson I am going to attempt a pairing in this essay which may seem somewhat incongruous--Freud and two works by a pulp Western writer. Later, I will expand upon my motivations for using Freud (along with a bit of Jacques Lacan and Harold Bloom), but let me state at the outset that his discussion of ambivalence, especially as he employs it in Totem and Taboo (1913), is the aspect of Freud's theories which first led me to think about his relevance to portrayals of Native Americans on the frontier, and it remains for me the most intriguing aspect of his writings. On a broader scale, part of what I will be arguing, or at least suggesting, is that Freud's ideas may still provide a fresh and salutary framework for interpreting popular culture's depictions of American Indians. The specific author whose work I will be evaluating, and whose writing exemplifies this ambivalence, is Zane Grey. While his prose could be cringe worthy and his plots perfunctory, Grey was also a popular, prolific, and influential writer who produced over ninety books and whose work inspired movies and a television series. His depictions of Native Americans ranged from numbingly racist

Journal

Journal of the SouthwestSouthwest Center (Univ of Arizona)

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