Boone's Metaphoric Hero In The Big Sky

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Through the characterization of Boone Caudill’s features of stoicism, endurance, and dream of liberation in the west, in his novel, The Big Sky, A.B. Guthrie constructs a narrative novel that highlights the archetypal epic journey of a lone man in the American west. Although Boone possesses the traits of a mythical hero, his flaw of savagery and fear of rejection curse him throughout the novel and eventually lead to his demise. By creating a universal western protagonist tragically conflicted by mythical heroism and human flaws, Guthrie suggests that the dream of the American west will suffer from a departure marked by conflict, just like Boone. Characterized by a sense of justice, a Romantic perspective on society and nature, bravery, …show more content…

Found guilty due to a lack of evidence, the sheriff locks Boone in jail and proceeds to whip him unfairly and unlawfully to get information. Although Boone submissively takes the whipping, once Jim rescues him, Boone refuses to leave Paoli without an act of revenge. So influenced by his natural sense of justice, Boone exclaims, “I told you I was bound to get even” and courageously steals the sheriffs’ horses. Even though stealing is not a morally correct action, Boone chooses ignores to the law for comeuppance, showing the stereotypical mountain man dismissal of society and heroic ability to reject flawed laws. As Boone ventures deeper in to the west he develops a Romantic appreciation for the freedom in nature. Overlooking a valley, Boone thinks to himself, “A man wouldn’t think the whole word was so much. It made the heart come up. It made a man little and still big, like a king looking out.” Not only can Boone feel liberated from society in the west, but he also feels powerful and inspired. Boone does not view the west as an opportunity for settlement or trade, but as a place to be free. His unique mindset of the west and his journey to becoming a mountain man makes him so …show more content…

From the very beginning of the novel, Boone shows his violent and impulsive behavior when he “feel[s] the blood pumping in his ears” and strikes Pap with piece of wood. Although Boone acted in self-defense, hitting Pap illustrates his inability to control his impulses and anger, a recurring theme throughout the book. Similarly, Boone loses control over his emotions when taunted by Streak about his friendship with Poordevil. While Boone’s intense emotions may spawn from his heroic Romanticism, he allows his flaw of anger to lead him to pursue violent action. Deeply humiliated by Streak, Boone has a powerful impulse to kill him. With no ability to regulate himself Boone felt “the blood rise in him hot and ready, feeling something fierce and glad swell in his chest.” Not only can Boone not stop himself, but he also is eager and “glad” to murder Streak, showing Boone struggle with his anger but has no desire to control it. While his emotions are human and real and make him more approachable, they detract from his heroism and taint his archetype. Lastly, Boone demonstrates his fear of betrayal when he rashly murders his close friend Jim when he wrongly assumes that Jim is the father of his child. Letting his anger overwhelm him and acting on speculation, “the blood beat and the muscles

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