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View Diary: The Face That Launched 1,000 Lunchboxes: Davy Crockett Was Kind of a Tool (58 comments)

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  •  That is a great observation, Jaime Frontero. (1+ / 0-)
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    Jaime Frontero

    Have you read Richard Slotkin's Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860? It was first published in 1973, but it has been reprinted many times (and I think it is still in print). It stands the test of time and is still a worthwhile read, if you are interested in American literature and culture.

    Anyway, Slotkin argues that the American frontier myth has served from colonial days a cultural orientation that celebrates and justifies the exploitation, consumption, and destruction of natural resources. He describes the function of the frontiersman archetype in that context as initially bringing into being (and then repeating and reinforcing) a facet of a unique American "national character" that is designed to stand in contradistinction to both old-school European civilization and what this cultural discourse defines as Native American "savagery."

    His argument is way more compelling and sophisticated than my slapdash summary here can do justice, but the short version is that you are right about the connections between the Crockett character (if not the real person) and Cooper's Natty Bumppo. Slotkin situates both of them within this mythological construct, along with other figures in American literature (the kinds of backwoods protagonists that were common in Old Southwestern humor, for example). His analysis also considers texts like Walden, Moby-Dick, and Leaves of Grass, but he reserves quite a bit of time and attention for Cooper. The book is definitely worth checking out if this is a topic that interests you.

    Thanks for the great comment!

    •  You're so far over my head... (1+ / 0-)
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      ...I couldn't grab the end of the string if I wanted to.

      I am but a lowly bookman - who has bought and sold several first editions in the Leatherstocking series during the course of his career.

      And who had a Davy Crockett lunchbox, once upon a time...

      It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you. 6 points.

      by Jaime Frontero on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 07:55:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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