Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
By following 160 years of horses and horsemen in literature, I look to the realistic and mythic movements of horses and horsemen as they respond to historical and cultural tensions. In order to accomplish this task, I lean heavily on Richard Slotkin's Gunfighter Nation. Slotkin claims that myth "is not only something given but something made, a product of human labor, one of the tools with which human beings do the work of making culture and society," and it is with his definition for myth that I evaluate the impact of horses on masculine identity (659). My trajectory is historical; I follow the experience of the horse and the symbolic importance of its power, or, as Gina Dorr states, its "unpower" (6). The role of the horse is problematized, and complicated. As the horse gains and loses power, so too do groups of men relying on horses for identity.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Boice, Renee Carnes, "Horse Power: The Rise and Fall of an Idealized Western Man" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 729.