As Smedley shows through the memories of her autobiographical heroine, the western experience for many women was the antithesis of the standard western male myth which too often ignored the lives of women and children or, in some cases, actually victimized them. Yet in the daily loyalty and endurance of these oppressed western women forming bonds of misery and hope, Smedley also finds the courage, the commitment, and the cause to which she can devote her life. Thus when her fictional counterpart finally proclaims, "I belong to those who do not die for the sake of beauty. I belong to those who die from other causes-exhausted by poverty, victims of wealth and power, fighters in a great cause" (p. 4), she is affirming her legacy from the West, and from her mother who died in the West.
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Publication information: Book title: Women and Western American Literature. Contributors: Helen Winter Stauffer - Author, Susan J. Rosowski - Author. Publisher: Whitston. Place of publication: Troy, NY. Publication year: 1982. Page number: 123.