Western Film Shane And Existentialism

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The western film is a film with three key points that separate this genre from the rest. The first key point is the theme: civilization versus wilderness. The second key point are the characters and their archetypes. The third key point is the narrative structure within the film. These points set the western genre apart from the rest and make it unique. A big aspect that follows the main character, Shane, is culture versus nature. The homestead lifestyle versus the lone wolf is the theme that defines Shane’s character and personality. At the beginning of the film, Shane is riding on horseback across a homestead family’s property. The little boy, Joey, immediately makes a connection with Shane. Joe Starrett welcomes Shane into their house for…show more content…
Existentialism is the main theory that separates Shane from any other gunfighter from other western movies. While reading parts from The American Western, it was brought to attention that many gunfighters are usually granted the outlook of an outlaw. Automatically a character can be depicted as an outlaw, because they are a gunfighter, which means they kill people (McVeigh, 82). In the film Shane, the gunfighter, Shane, is able to make his own choices. This aspect of the movie changes the character dramatically. Since Shane is able to make his own decisions, he can choose to use his powers for the of the town and the citizens. When Shane denied the job offer from Rufus Ryker, it showed the audience that he is loyal to Joe Starrett. At the end of the movie, Shane, against Starrett’s wishes, goes into a gunfight with a skillful outlaw, Jack Wilson. In the saloon, they have an exchange of words that ends with a gunfight. Shane ends up shooting Jack Wilson, Rufus Ryker and Morgan Ryker. Although he killed 3 people, the civilians knew it was for the good of the town. Also, Shane partook in the gunfight on Starrlett’s behalf, therefore Starrett wouldn’t get killed himself. Since Shane took the place of Starrett in the gunfight, it showed his loyalty and skillset. He saved Joe Starrett’s life and possibly other ranchers’ lives too. Existentialism is being shown within both of these movie scenes, because Shane was able to make his own decisions. He was not labeled an outlaw just…show more content…
The “second act” is when the audience gets to know what is at stake for the characters, and includes the obstacles that the characters have to overcome (Barsam, 154). In Shane, losing land and possible deaths were what was at stake for the ranchers and their families. The ranchers built up a united front against Rufus Ryker, but that did not stop Ryker from creating obstacles for them. Ryker’s main obstacle towards the ranchers were sabotaging their lands and threatening their safety. Ryker led his cattle to destroy some of the ranchers’ newly planted crops. To others, Ryker set fire to their homes. In order to instill a fear in the ranchers, Ryker would start bar fights. Although the ranchers were dealt with many obstacles from the hands of Ryker, they managed to stay
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