Buffalo Bill And The Wild West

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2. Based on your readings in Kasson and Murdoch, explain the ideology (ies) embedded in Cody’s representation of Manifest Destiny. In what ways has Cody been self-blinded? In what ways has he forgotten, repressed, and displaced the experience of the settling of the West in his dramatizations? How does his vision of the settling of the West evolve of the decades? Manifest Destiny is defined as the historical belief that the United States is destined, even divinely ordained, to expand across the North American continent. This belief began with entrepreneurial mind-frame Easterners and permeated through all routes to the West. Among the young men traveling West was an unofficial scout for Johnston’s Army; William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Cody, an ordinary young man, developed and matured into an American cultural hero through the use of deep-seated ideologies present in his infamous Wild West Show. “The domain of ideology coincides with the domain of signs. They equate with one another. Wherever a sign is present, ideology is present. Everything ideological posses semiotic value” (Trachtenberg 8). Trachtenberg is stating that a sign, however subliminal or genuine, is behind the construction of core values that are the framework of a belief system. William Cody was ingenious in being able to use this principle, market it, sell it, and ultimately build himself into an American Icon that will forever be “Buffalo Bill”. Prior to the 1840’s, Cody’s success would not have been possible. During the early part of his life, Cody spent his summers as a scout and performed stage productions in NY during the winter. During these stage productions, Cody began his transformation into Buffalo Bill as he casted himself as a celebrity. He uses the stage productions to develop a play of himself scalping Native Americans. This ultimately lead to Buffalo

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