Short Essay #3 Due Friday, November 21

In "Engendering the West," Morrissey discusses the ways Norm McLean’s A River Runs Through It stays true to traditional gender roles, and thus reinforces American views that the “tough men” and “understanding women” in his stories were part of the “natural order of things” (p.133). She ultimately argues for more studies of the West that challenge these dominant images by presenting various stories that more accurately reflect the diverse social world of the American West (p.143).

The rich characters in Mitchell, Up in the Old Hotel and Paley, The Collected Stories certainly provide striking images of people and place that are based on multiple viewpoints. In your short essay, choose a story from either Mitchell or Paley. How does the author get at the unique point of view of the character(s)? How do the characters relate to place? In your answer, you might specifically consider the ways that the characters challenge or reinforce dominant cultural myths.