Literary Analysis Of 'The Searchers( 1956 ) And Taxi Driver'

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The term “genre” is referenced frequently when describing film, literature, music, and other mediums of artistry, and yet attempting to define the term itself is difficult. Genre studies are rife with uncertainty and conflicting opinions on how best to define and research genre. Some theorists opt for a semantic approach, a broader categorization a genre that encompasses a large number of films, the building blocks of which are commonplace across that genre. In contrast to the semantic theorists, some prefer a syntactic approach, isolating select films which most ideally represent the themes and structural conventions of that genre. There exists a third interpretation, a semantic/syntactic approach, which takes into consideration all …show more content…

Also present throughout the genre is the continual search for a national identity in a landscape of drastic change. This includes an attempt to overcome dialectical and communicative problems at the core of American society. These are conventions included in the genre’s syntax, and they accompany a “Bundle of Oppositions” which often play a key role in a character’s motivation and the plot of the Western film itself. These divergent concepts include: “purity v. corruption”, “self-knowledge v. illusion”, “savagery v. humanity”, and “brutalization v. refinement”. Apart from the aforementioned syntactical conventions of the genre, the semantics of the Western are easily spotted and used in the vast majority of classical Western films. These more noticeable characteristics include the setting of the legendary Western frontier, guns and gun battles, violence, horses, and stock characters. One of these archetypal characters is the “Frontier Hero”, a character identified with the landscape of the west, and whose purpose in the film is to purge that landscape of obstacles in the way of its development. Also included in this generic cast of the Western are the “tough/soft Cowboy”, the “savage Indian”, the “strong but tender woman”, the “out of touch antihero”, and the “lonely sheriff”. These semantics are commonplace in many archaic westerns, and yet their prominence has faded as time passes.* The Searchers is a classical Western to the extreme, embodying

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