The Early Novel of the Southwest

By Edwin W. Gaston Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
PLOT TYPES AND TECHNIQUES

THE EARLIEST NOVELISTS in the Southwest felt that, in a sense, they were portraying history and often insisted that their works were rooted in fact. Twelve of the first seventeen novels examined in this study are said by their authors to be based upon actual events.1 Such insistence corresponds to assertions by other early American fiction writers, who relied partly on claims of verisimilitude and partly on didacticism to overcome the conventional objection that imaginative works were "immoral." However, in the Southwest, as elsewhere, early fiction stood on the periphery of actuality. And when writers did employ real events, they used them mostly to provide a loosely-constructed framework upon which to stretch the fabric of their fancies. Some of the Southwestern novelists, like their counterparts in other regions, had other reasons for the use of fact in their work. Hesper Bendbow in More Than She Could Bear explains that, because knowledge of the Gachupin War is not widley held, "a larger proportion of historical matter [is] being admitted into this story than is usually embraced in works of fiction not

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1
These novels are: L'Heroine du Texas, Lafitte, Mexico versus Texas, Old Hicks, Life in the Far West, Scalp-Hunters, Rangers and Regulators, Trappers of Arkansas, Mustang Gray, Trail Hunter, More Than She Could Bear, and Kit Carson, Jr.

-45-

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The Early Novel of the Southwest
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chapter I- Introduction 3
  • Chapter II- A General Survey 31
  • Chapter III- Plot Types and Techniques 45
  • Chapter IV- Character Portrayal 82
  • Chapter V- Impressions of Geography 123
  • Chapter VI- Intellectual and Philosophical Concepts 156
  • Chapter VII- Conclusion 189
  • Epilogue- Southwestern Fiction since 1918 195
  • Appendixes 209
  • Appendix II- The Authors 263
  • Related Studies 288
  • Bibliography 292
  • Index 303
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