The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968 Page: 649
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serve the many-faceted image of the American pioneer hero, it acknowl-
edges both disparate and common characteristics. Furthermore, its
widespread impact, according to the author, is felt today: "The pat-
terns of action and personality of our nation and people fostered by
the frontier ... exert at least residual cultural effect upon present-
From the frontiersman of the forest to the prairie farmer, and not
excluding the mountain man and the ranger of the Southwest, the
pioneer image casts a tall shadow. He was a veritable titan in size.
Not only this, he typified two men combined-the hunter and the
farmer-and possessed fundamental traits of physical prowess, courage,
resourcefulness, and forthright independence, all of which fortified
him against frontier hazards. Nevertheless, as he traveled about aiming
his rifle, wielding his axe or hoe, and trapping for furs, the pattern
of his image altered to correlate with his environment and the date
of book publication.
The time span of half a century provides a wide canvas for the
study. Novels of the first decade of the century focus on a wilderness-
oriented hero. Examples are S. Hargreaves' The Cabin at the Trail's
End and James Boyd's Long Hunt. At the quarter-century period,
emphasis shifted to the settlement-oriented character. Typical of this
genre are The Great Meadow by Elizabeth M. Roberts and Green
Centuries by Caroline Gordon.
Novels of the 1900oo-1910o decade stressed breeding and aristocracy.
Frequently the background of the protagonist was southern. Such
novels as M. Thompson's Alice of Old Vincennes and Burton Steven-
son's The Heritage, whose heroes are native Virginians, are illustra-
tions. Although the "gentry" hero continued to appear sporadically in
the novels between 191o and 1950, he was supplanted by a central
figure of simple origin and plain manner dedicated to independence
and hard work.
Nor does the author ignore the role of the woman of the frontier.
In one of the most perceptive chapters ("Silks and Calico"), he
states: "The woman symbolizes culture and civilization and carries
these into the wilderness. As such she epitomizes the change of the
frontier world from the wild, rough, sometimes crude man's world to
one in which the social graces are observed and in which the basic
culture is advanced."
The Pioneer in the American Novel is a well-documented and thor-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968, periodical, 1968; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/m1/715/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.