Three Literary Views of the American Frontier
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Through the use of these three novels I hope to help students answer questions about the American frontier. Was the American frontier a factor in our country’s growth? Were subduers of the land essential to development? Were users of the land important to initial exploration of the wilderness? Why did users provide little to the country’s growth? Through the use of historical background on the frontier and pioneers presented as teacher’s notes and class discussion, the students should be prepared to understand the historical significance of the novels. Passages from novels such as
The Way West
The Big Sky
will provide descriptive evidence of the attitude of pioneers, the preparedness of groups of pioneers moving westward, the feeling for the land that fur-trappers and backwoodsmen had, and how all of these various people and attitudes came together to form a country. The spirit of pioneering truly set the tone for the United States, and students today should be able to trace the roots of our pioneering spirit to the people portrayed in the novels they read.