Article Review: Mountain Man and American Anguish

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[. . .] " The author uses Williams, the drunken and slovenly mountain man who agrees to act as a guide in the "fickle West" because of his greed and becomes a cannibalistic shadow/pariah because of it. Another strength is the author's knowledge about American media in the early 1970's through the mid-1990's, as the author discusses numerous representations of heroes/villains/pariahs/shadows/scapegoats.

The article has at least several weaknesses. First, the author uses some "mountain men" who are not "mountain men." He says the "mountain man" is "the fur trapper and/or trader of the United States of America's nineteenth-century trans-Mississippi West." However, he uses Pasquinel, McKeag and Grizzly Adams, who can be seen as other types of men: Pasquinel and McKeag are "river men" and Grizzly Adams is a "wilderness zookeeper." The author should have expanded his definition of "mountain man" or reduced the examples to men who fit his definition. A second weakness is the author's failure to follow through on all the 5 added themes of the "mountain man" in the early 1970's to mid-1990's: Vietnam soldier; repression of effects from the Vietnam War; men as victims of war, government, and women; fear/hatred of women; loss of individual liberties; rather, the author just makes announcements that the "mountain man" represented some of those themes. A third weakness is that the author seemed to forget about the "mountain man" in media in order to lecture about the bad effects of Vietnam, for example. All-in-all, the article made some interesting points but the author tried to prove too many arguments/themes with a very limited definition of "mountain man" and without continually focusing on the connections between media representations and his arguments/themes.

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