Wanted Dead or Alive, Ch. 1-2


In these two chapters I want you to not get caught up with the numerous writers and titles, but rather think about what images or themes were prevalent and why these were so compelling at times.  Think about the relationship between the dime novels or western novels and the larger social-economic and political context during which these various works were produced.

 Chapter 1

What does the author suggest about the relationship between the author and what he writes and the audience?  In other words why might one read a book differently?

How did the dime novel as a commodity shape the content of what authors’ wrote?

What common themes or values remained prominent in most dime novels about the west?

Why were comic books even more formulaic than earlier dime novels?


Ch. 2

According to the author what is it about the timing of the rising popularity of western novels that is significant?

What is the relationship between the new urban experience and the popularity and specific themes of western novels?

How were Bertha Bower’s books different in terms of western women?

What themes stand out in Zane Grey’s novels?

What 2 major themes does the author argued carry through nearly all western novels?

What about the imagery of West as a region stands out and why?