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                       Gustave Baumann, Talaya Peak, 1924

 

 

THE FAILURE OF SOUTHWEST REGIONALISM

 

Published in the South Dakota Review, 19.4 (Winter, 1982), 85-99

 

 

In his book, The Southwest, John Houghton Allen says that "the best way to see  the Southwest is through the bottom of a glass. You can take it, after a dozen beers" (1). As it turns out, Allen was bitter about the destruction of Hispanic culture in South Texas, which he says "was absorbed." So, "like the gringos these people affect to scorn any remote connection with the soil. And now they sit in these gringo towns like Indians off a reservation" (2). In this statement Allen suggests the elements which must be dealt with in a definition of Southwestern regionalism: the three cultures ­- Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo; their interactions with each other; and, their relationship to the land.

 

In his fine essay, "Regionalism in American Literature," Benjamin Spencer suggests that regional literature is the dialectic complement to our national literature (3). Before the Civil War many Southerners called for a distinctive sectional literature to counter what they saw as northern sectional literature and to combat absorption, and hence destruction, of Southern culture into a monolithic Americanism. After the war, literary nationalism was complemented by local color, which was influenced by, and contributed to, realism. Like the realists, local color writers were interested in journalistic facts and accurate description of manners and setting – even though they exaggerated or distorted these. This included the use of dialect. However, unlike the sectional writers, most local colorists were not a product of the regions they described. ln fact, they were often outsiders with an uncritical allegiance to the urban bourgeois view associated with industrialism, Manifest Destiny, and the New York publishing industry. Thus, Donald Dike suggested that nineteenth century local color writing was a domestic travel literature (4).

 

While this may be true of much local color writing, especially of the West, it may be exaggerated in reference to the New England of Sarah Orne Jewett, the South of Joel Chandler Harris, Thomas Nelson Page, and Lafcadio Hern, or the Midwest of Edward Eggleston and Edgar Howe. However, Dike does imply what they all have in common as local colorists: a desire to create an American folklore. By concentrating on the regional types ­- cowboys in the West, avuncular negroes in the South ­- a distinctive and representative American literature could be collected, a grass roots, sociologically authentic American songbag or literary quilt. It should be kept in mind that many of these regional portraits, again especially those of the West, were written for a national newspaper audience. Hence stereotypes and caricatures were often accepted as representative portraits of both the South and the West.

 

Carey McWilliams, in  the Southwest Review, defined local color writing as "merely a polite movement to gratify Eastern curiosity, to make the Eastern reader think that what he had always thought about the West was true" (5). Local color writing tended to be either ironic or sentimental with characters rendered picturesque because the writer was interested in describing local variations in manners.

 

In one of the earliest local color sketches of New Mexico, Frontier Army Sketches (1872-3), James Steele portrays Apache women as gorillas ­- "squat, angular, pig-eyed, ragged, wretched, and insect haunted" (p. 84). The brave is a "gaunt and greasy son of the wilderness … unconscious of his odors … unwashed, and nearly naked save in respect of paint" (p. 85). Steele admits that "this sketch may seem to the Eastern reader somewhat one-sided, though it is not so" (p. 89). Steele sums up the character of the Indian, saying that he has "the inborn love of killing" (p. 97) and that "his is a race egoism, like that of the Chinese" (p. 96). Although such descriptions are recognized today as racist caricatures, Steele thought he was being realistic and accurate. He says that "every tradition repeating the story of Indian bravery, generosity, and hospitality, fades like mist before the actual man." And he specifically warns against the romanticized Indians in James Fenimore Cooper's novels: "When confronted with the actual hero, the beautiful characters of Cooper cease to attract, and, indeed, become in a sense ridiculous" (p. 80).

 

The Hispanics of New Mexico fare little better in Steele's harsh ethnocentric report of what New Mexico is really like. The New Mexican lives in an "irregular, squalid and straggling village" and, in contrast to the Indian, "is remarkable only for placidity" (p. 147). New Mexicans have no shops, no money, and only "the ugliest, heaviest, and most inconvenient of earthly vehicles" (p. 152). Steele reports that chili, "the hottest sauce ever invented, is a standard dish, eaten by everybody" and used in recipes "which were never known among the gourmands and epicures" (p. 153). The New Mexican is an "inveterate and incurable liar" (p. 157) whose only object in life is "to dance and to smoke" (p. 150). However, the New Mexican must have occasionally had more energy, for Steele also found that "prostitution and adultery go unregarded and shameless" (p. 157). Finally, Steele implied that Catholicism made Hispanics docile victims of the murderous Indians, in contrast to "the sturdy Protestant who is apt … to die fighting" (p. 160). Steele also implied that if the Hispanics were really men, they would have exterminated the Indians long ago instead of waiting for the U.S. Cavalry to carry out "the sentence of doom that is written against the red man" (p. 52).

 

As might be expected, Steele is fulsome in his praise of Anglo values, which he personifies in a sentimental portrait of Captain Jinks, a long-suffering cavalry officer and servant of Manifest Destiny "in the coyote-haunted desert," and in the anonymous Victorian frontier woman who best represents "that virtue which, more than any other, is characteristic of woman ­- the virtue of silent endurance" (p. 253).

 

Steele's realism in regard to the Indians was typical of Western local color. For example, consider Mark Twain's description of the "Goshute Indians" in Roughing It (1872). They are "a silent, sneaking, treacherous-looking race; taking note of everything, covertly, like all the other 'Noble Red Men' that we (do not) read about … indolent … prideless beggars … eating what a hog would decline." If asked about the "Great Spirit" they would think "whiskey is referred to." They "produce nothing at all, and have no villages." The "Goshutes are manifestly descended from the selfsame gorilla … whichever animal­Adam the Darwinians trace them to." Twain says that although "a disciple of Cooper and a worshipper of the red man," he may have overestimated "the red man while viewing him through the mellow moonshine of romance." Twain ends his description of the savage by saying that "It was curious to see how quickly the paint and tinsel fell away from him and left him treacherous, filthy, and repulsive" (7).

 

Bret Harte wrote a novel titled Muck-A-Muck: A Modern Indian Novel After Cooper (1867) . It is a parody of Cooper's Leatherstocking series in which Chingachgook is called Muck-A­Muck. He appears with a bare chest "decorated with a quantity of three-cent postage-stamps which he had despoiled from an Overland Mail stage a few weeks previous." Muck-A-Muck is too much of a fool to be either a hero or villain. His status as a caricature created for the Eastern newspaper audience is obvious in this speech:

 

"I go," said the Indian. "Tell your great chief in Washington, The Sachem Andy, that the Red Man is retiring before the footsteps of the adventurous pioneer. Inform him, if you please, that westward the star of empire takes it's way, that the chiefs of the Pi­Ute nation are for Reconstruction to a man, and that Klamath will poll a heavy Republican vote in the fall" (8).

 

As these judgments by Steele, Twain, and Harte indicate, Western local color was largely an ethnocentric formula created to amuse an Eastern audience and preclude any serious questions about the policies of Manifest Destiny. It was insensitive and hostile to regional ideas or customs, which might have fragmented the unity of purpose required to pursue Manifest Destiny and industrial growth. Instead of fostering regional diversity, local color sought to demonstrate that the only sensible life was that of urban and industrial America; those who lived differently were at best amusing and inconsequential fools; at worst failures, anachronistic dreamers, or savages (9).

 

In the 1920s there were two authentic regional movements: the Fugitives -- Southern agrarianists; and the Midwestern regionalists who, as Roy Meyer has shown, produced more than a hundred novels (10). The Fugitives may have had roots in the earlier Southern sectional movement, but Midwestern regionalism well illustrates the principles of the literary definition. The works of Hamlin Garland, Joseph Kirkland, E. W. Howe, William Allen White, Herbert Krause, Willa Cather, Wright Morris, and other Midwest writers have one thing in common: a shared perspective on the land. In simple terms, Midwest regional writing is about farming. Whether it is rendered romantic or realistic, the farming orientation to the land is beyond question. On this issue there was no difference among Polish, German, Irish, or English farmers. And in spite of the cultural heritage and local homogeneity of a dominant culture (for example the Germans in northwest Iowa), everyone participated in the unifying activity of farming, even if only indirectly as with merchants in small towns.

 

Thus a unified culture developed below the imported differences in culture and language. When Steinbeck's Tom Joad picked up a piece of his land, every Midwesterner knew what this symbolized. There was something powerful, primal, and unequivocal in his inarticulate love of his farm that did not need explanation because it was universally shared. This shared involvement with the land through farming was at the heart of Midwestern regionalism even when there was a love­hate relationship with it as in Garland's work.

 

John Milton, in his The Novel of the American West, says that "the land itself is probably the single most important element of a region" (11). He goes on to say that a regional novel must be "of the land, a novel in which the land actually becomes a character, a force to be reckoned with, part of the conflict as well as background" (12). Certainly this is true of Midwestern regional novels where the land is all important. Characters often relate to it as they might to another character. They hate it, love it, work with it; it feeds them, starves them, and finally takes them into itself in death. Far from being an unexplored and strange landscape, a surprising, useless, and threatening great desert full of hostile Indian ­- as the West was often described ­-  the Midwest was ordinary farm country. It represented the normal landscape just as farming represented the normal occupation of most Americans. Western local color presented the Western landscape, and the people indigenous to it, as foreign, as outlandish; the people were laughed at or pitied because they deviated from the normal agrarian life. Hence Western local color remained either humorous or sentimental. Moreover, it’s could not change in the nineteenth century, for it's sole cause or purpose was to exaggerate the gulf between normal farm and small town life, and the lives of characters ­- Indians Mexicans, miners, whores, and social misfits.

 

The question is, how much has the perception of the Southwest changed? Is it still a strange landscape? Are the Navajos, Hopis, Pueblos, and Apaches, as well as Hispanics, still perceived as characters unlike other Americans? Obviously much depends on who is doing the writing, where they are from, and who they are writing for, because these factors largely determine what is normal. There is a collection of fine literature written about the Southwest. What is its origin? Is it regional in the same sense as Midwestern or Southern regionalism? Is it related to nineteenth-century Western local color? If so, how has it changed?

 

Dike expresses the contemporary view in saying, "Local color has nowadays become a term of critical abuse … due to the failure of the American local-color movement in the nineteenth century to provide a significant literature" (13). This is a historical judgment, which assumes that local color writing vanished like a dinosaur and was succeeded by a struggle between regionalism and a national literature (realism, naturalism, modernism). This view is the product of historical reductionism. It is a view produced in graduate schools and critical journals that accepts terminology, movements, and explanations as more important than individual novels and stories. I am not arguing for a primitive reading of literature. But I am suggesting that prefabricated critical terminology can often obscure instead of explicate literature. Such is the case with Southwestern writing today. So-called Southwestern regional writing today is neither authentically regional after the pattern of Midwestern regionalism, nor is it national. In fact, it is twentieth-century local color writing, which has produced a fine, if not great, literature. Contemporary Southwestern local color writing is generically derived from nineteenth-century local color writing, but the term implies no critical abuse and implies no judgments about quality.

 

In a 1929 symposium on Southwestern regionalism, Mary Austin offered a typical definition of regionalism: "A regional culture is the sum, expressed in ways of living and thinking, of the mutual adaption of a land and a people" (14). The problem in the Southwest is that there are three cultures, which each have fundamentally different values expressed in several languages. This can be illustrated in various cultural orientations to the land. The Native American sees the land in a mytho-religious context as sacred. The Hispanic develops a relationship with the land through subsistence farming and often personifies it as a woman, conceiving his relationship as analogous to a marriage (15). Finally, the Anglo most often sees the Southwest as landscape, as a national park or as pictured in Arizona Highways. The Native American identifies the land as a religious center; the Hispanic identifies it as mother and wife; while the Anglo simply appreciates the aesthetic quality of the landscape.

 

In 1932 Mary Austin admitted that "our Southwest, though actually the longest lived-in section of the country, has not yet achieved its authentic literary expression in English" (16). Like the search for the great American novel, the search for a representative Southwestern regional novel is futile, for much the same reason: the cultural diversity is too great. Joseph Kirkland's Zury or Herbert Krause's The Thresher or four or five other novels might well represent the Midwest. But in the Southwest, Oliver La Farge's Enemy Gods, a novel about a young Navajo coming of age, might be considered representative. So might a work about Hispanic life by Rudolfo Anaya, Harvey Fergusson, or Raymond Otis. Then there is the work of Paul Horgan. Each one of these writers has written a work which might well stand as an illustration for the Southwest; but none of them has written a novel representative of the Southwest, or even of New Mexico. Moreover, none of their works necessarily has anything to do with the work or the vision of the others. If anything, their separate works contribute to a mosaic or quilt ­- work which cumulatively suggests, but never entirely defines, the Southwest. This may be called “Southwest regionalism," but if so, it should be recognized as fundamentally different from what is meant by Midwestern or Southern regionalism. In that case, the terminology needs to be either abandoned or rethought.

 

In the 1929 symposium on Southwestern regionalism, Albert Guerard suggested that "apart from the historical factor, there is no such thing as the Southwest. It is a mosaic, not a synthesis" (17). The mosaic of Southwestern literature has at least three parts corresponding to the three cultures. But there is an additional complication. Definitions of regionalism stress the importance of an unconscious rapport with the land and a culture. Thus Mary Austin says authentic regional works must be of the region, not simply about it (18). There is a sense, often expressed in definitions of regionalism, that authentic works must proceed from values and a vision that come directly from the unconscious of the writer to ingenuously take on the shape of the culture which gives them a unique expression. If this is true, it would seem that only a Hispanic or a Native American could write authentically about their respective cultures, because only they are truly indigenous to them (19). They were formed by their cultures, including languages other than English as their first language, and thus react almost instinctively out of their formative experiences to be representatives of their culture. Anyone writing about a culture different from the one he grew up in and acquired through his native language must, by definition, be writing local color. Thus Anglo writers like Frank Waters or William Eastlake can make studied and analogous responses based on their long study of Hopi or Navajo culture (20). Moreover, their semi-anthropological interest in diverse cultures is, as Dike said, a feature of local color writing (21). Albert Guerard remained pessimistic about Anglo versions of Native American or Hispanic culture. He said they are "two civilizations which you cannot adopt as your own: they will have to remain subordinate" to a national literature (22). Henry Smith, another participant of the symposium, agreed, saying that "at most there can be cross­ fertilization between American and Indian cultures" (23).

 

Does this mean that the fine novels of La Farge, Waters, and Eastlake should be dismissed as falsely representative of Southwestern Indian views? I think not; but there is a cautionary point here. In such novels we are dealing with a literary hybrid. Dudley Winn, in an essay titled "The Southwestern Regional Straddle," explained that "the Regionalists of  the Southwestwho use the Spanish and Indian cultures as material for their art … can justly be charged with a futile romanticism" (21). Ultimately, Winn considered these romantic renderings to be morally and politically insidious because Anglo writers "continue half-heartedly praising the beauty of Spanish and Indian ways, uncomplainingly accepting the whole Anglo encroachment" (25). Dike made a similar point about nineteenth century local color writing, saying that it celebrated "the rural life for its simplicity, unsophistication, innocence, and proximity to nature" (26). However fine their novels, Waters, La Farge, Eastlake, Fergusson, and Otis remain cultural outsiders and hence, by definition, local color writers. Their vision is a hybrid, a cross-fertilization between Anglo literary or artistic values and the cultures they study and adopt.

 

In short, what is distinctive in Southwestern literature is a new kind of local color. In place of the jingoism and racism of Steele and the general denigration of variant cultures, there is a broad romanticism and rose-hued appreciation of Native American and Hispanic life. But it is local color nonetheless. And as local color these works never overcome their limitation as sentiment. Thus, the authors continue to portray noble savages or noble peasants who remain picturesque or pitiable when compared to Anglo life in Albuquerque or Phoenix. The lives of Native Americans rendered by writers like Frank Waters may be complex and deep, and they often present moving characters, but there is nonetheless a suggestion that Indian life is different simply because it is based on a heritage, culture, and language radically different from the Anglo experience. Hence we often pity Indian characters precisely because we do not know how to help them or even relate to them. We do not know what is expected or even possible in their cultures. There is an automatic aesthetic distance created in rendering Indian characters that almost inevitably makes them picturesque even when they are heroic. That is to say, we do not see their acts or lives as important or meaningful to our own lives. Benjamin Spencer agreed. He wrote that "though the Amerindian traits have been enumerated, classified, and extolled, they must remain largely the stuff of loca l color until they have ceased to become an embellishment and have become integrated into the unconscious outlook of the region"(27).

 

As long as the three cultures remain viable, that is to say, as long as the Anglo culture does not destroy the Native American or Hispanic cultures, this fusion is impossible. The clash among ideas of land use in New Mexico provides an illustration. Much of northern New Mexico has been included in national forests. Anglos from outside the immediate region are often surprised to learn that local Hispanics sometimes burn Smokey the Bear forest signs. The Anglos see only the beautiful forests and expect everyone to view them in the same aesthetic context. But Harvey Fergusson's Grant of Kingdom presents the history of how the forests were stolen from Hispanic owners. And Raymond Otis, in Little Valley, suggests that the Hispanic subsistence farmer may have a different relationship to the land:

 

When the land called, all human things gave way, and it was only right that they should. For a man's fate lay in his fields, not in his heart; and the land was exacting of a man, too. It demanded his best efforts and all his strength. Rightly so (28).

 

Anglos in Albuquerque or other American cities may see this as picturesque. Little Valley and Otis' other fine northern New Mexico novel, Miguel of the Bright Mountain, are lyrical books. But, as in the works of Waters and Eastlake, there is a political message, not a militant demand, but a more circuitous message based on presenting an alien cultural context. If we fictionally enter into the alien culture and experience, we may be able to at least recognize that there are fundamentally different values among Indians, Hispanics, and Anglos in the Southwest. If Indian and Hispanic cultural values and perspectives can be translated into the traditions and expectations of American literature, it must be done by twentieth-century local color. While such writing may remain largely romantic, it is interested in explaining cultural variants to a national audience. It may not have a pure technique, but it may also be the only technique that is effective in crossing cultural boundaries.

 

In northwest New Mexico Anglos wish to develop coal and uranium deposits. Yet the traditional Navajos feel that "these mountains are our father and mother. We came from them; we depend upon them." In fact, "each mountain is a person. The water courses are their veins and arteries" (29). In Eastlake's Dancers in the Scalp House, Navajos build a nuclear bomb to defend their land from a hydro-electric project which will flood it. However, they are too reverent of life and too civilized to use it.

 

Each of these concepts of the land is an unquestioned cultural inheritance that acts as a criterion in defining who belongs to a culture. These are not interchangeable or debatable ideas. Rather they are one of the foundational beliefs that identify a particular culture. Thus, to suggest that there can or should be one novel or one type of literature that represents the Southwest is to either deny that the separate cultures exist, or, like Steele, hope that the Anglo culture will absorb the other two. Moreover, it is a hope for a reductive stereotype, a formula like the cowboy western, endlessly repeated. In contrast, modern local color writing of the Southwest presents a richness and depth that is unique. There are multiple layers of meaning in interpreting the New Mexican landscape because of the multiple cultural perspectives. The land docs not allow only one relationship, but sustains many. And if Anglo technology does not destroy the Southwest landscape, perhaps it will be in part because alternative visions of the land have been offered by the new local colorists of the Southwest.

 

In writing about the regional uniqueness of California, James Parsons says that "there is here neither the homogeneity of culture nor of physical environment for which the regionalists so fondly seek." He goes on to say, "We are scarcely dealing here, however, with the sort of deeply-rooted ties and affections for the land that have characterized those longer settled areas which have been most conspicuously identified with the concept of the 'regional culture'" (30). In the Southwest there is less "homogeneity of culture" than in any other region of America. And unlike California, which might be a melting pot creating a homogeneous culture in time,  the Southwest has sustained three independent cultures for at least a hundred years, and before that, two cultures for several hundred years. There are "deeply-rooted ties and affections for the land" in the Southwest, but these cannot be reduced to a single formula.

 

Parsons suggests that California is regionally unique because of its "geographical remoteness … from the rest of the nation" and because the majority of Californians ironically share the experience of having moved there from elsewhere in the United States. Despite these sociological reasons, California cannot be considered to have a unified regional culture. Certainly it has not produced a unified or distinctive regional literature. The largely superficial and obvious claims made by Parsons for identifying California as a region indicate that the concept of regionalism is simply not very useful any more.

 

Sanford Marovitz recently argued that, in American literature, "Western Realism … vaguely indicates a wide, shifting West and a highly ambiguous reality, it is an almost meaningless and often misleading designation. Too broad to define a genre, it is at best a direction sign, though to be used with extreme caution" (31). Similarly the terms or regionalism and local color are most often used as "direction signs" when they should be used with "extreme caution" to indicate the theoretical limitations of particular types of fiction.

 

The evolution and connotations of the two literary terms are inappropriate to the Southwest. The Southwest cannot have a representative regionalism as long as cultural diversity exists. The use of the term local color to denote a nineteenth-century ethnocentrism and to connote a hyperbolic style must be replaced with the notion that local color simply implies epistemological limitations. While local color writing does have theoretical limitations, like every other genre, it should not any longer be considered a designation for inferior, prejudiced, and politically didactic writing. Waters, Eastlake, La Farge, Fergusson, and Otis are twentieth­century

Western local colorists. But they are fine, perhaps even great, writers. They love the cultures they present in their novels, and they have immeasurably enriched what might be without their works a one-dimensional bourgeois Anglo culture.

 

On the other hand, prescriptions designating who may write authentically about a region may have more to do with anthropology than literature; and, in any case, they may simply identify formulas. Benjamin Spencer's thesis that American literature has evolved as a dialectical process between our national literature and regionalism may work in considering New England, the South, or the Midwest. But in the Southwest the situation is more complex. Definitions of regionalism that developed from movements in the South and the Midwest cannot be uncritically imposed on the Southwest without distorting its literature. lt is the term itself which fails, not the literature of  the Southwest.

 

The tricultural English language literature of the Southwest has several fates. It can remain diffuse and unrelated. In that case there will be three separate Southwest regional literatures corresponding to the three cultures. On the other hand, imported critical theories and terms can reduce and distort Southwestern literature to fit into a prefabricated literary history. Or Southwestern literature can be defined as a unique phenomenon in contrast to the literature produced elsewhere in the United States. However, this interpretation involves rethinking critical terms from the perspective given by the literature itself. That is to say, terms must be devised to explain the literature rather than making the literature conform to the terms. John Milton, in his The Novels of the American West, has begun the process of explaining the Western novel from the perspective given by Western novels themselves. If this is done for the Southwest, then  Southwestern regionalism may come to mean something specific and may explain what literature written in this region has in common. At the moment, the term is merely suggestive when it is not actually confusing.

 

 

 

NOTES


1. John Houghton Allen, Southwest (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1952), p. 13.

2. Allen, p. 217.

3. Benjamin T. Spencer, "Regionalism in American Literature," in Merrill Jensen, Regionalism in America (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1951), pp. 219-260.

4. Donald Dike, "Notes on Local Color and lts Relation to Realism," College English Vol. 14 (Nov. 1952), p. 82. Earl Pomeroy supports this idea by estimating the cost of visiting the West in the late nineteenth century: "A trip from New York to the West Coast and back around the turn of the century cost about three hundred dollars, meals, hotels and sidetrips all extra, at a time when hourly wages ran around twenty cents an hour, and the average factory worker earned less than five hundred dollars a year. If he took his wife, they would spend more than a year's wages for railroad fares alone, and he would probably lose his job, since the roundtrip would take ten days on fast trains over the direct, least scenic route with good connections and no stopovers, and few wage earners had as much as a week's vacation." Earl Pomeroy, "Rediscovering the West," American Quarterly, 12.1 (Spring 1960), p. 28.

5. Carey McWilliams, "Young Man, Stay West," in Southwest Review, 15 (1929), p. 305. See also Laurence Veysey, "Myth and Reality in Approaching American Regionalism, American Quarterly, 12.1 (Spring 1960), pp. 31-43: "the Westerner would often behave according to rigidly fixed, artificial preconceptions, rather than in response to the logic of his own interests."

6. James W. Steele, Frontier Army Sketches (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1969)All page citations are to this volume.

7. Mark Twain, Roughing It, (New York: New American Library, 1962), pp. 117-120.

8. Bret Harte, Muck-A-Muck: A Modern Indian Novel After Cooper, in The Rise of Realism: American Literature from 1860 to 1888, edited by Louis Wann (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1933), p. 298.

9. Dike suggests similar ideas in several of his characteristics of local color. He suggests that nineteenth century local color had "a semianthropological interest in local customs"; that it often took "the form of propaganda"; and that "local- color writing does not grapple seriously with the moral problem of social groups or of individuals in groups. Instead, it sermonizes." Pp. 84, 85, 87.

10.See Roy Meyer, The Middle Western Farm Novel in the Twentieth Century (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965).

11.John R. Milton, The Novel of the American West (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980), p. 108.

12.Milton, p. 111.

13.Dike, p. 81.

14.Mary Austin, "Regional Culture in the Southwest," in Southwest Review, 14 (1921), p. 475.

15.For example, John Milton says: "Typical of Fergusson's images used symbolically is the union of land and woman" (p. 245). Also: "it must be noted that 'land' as respected and loved by Fergusson is somewhat different from the 'earth' which evokes a mystical response from another Southwestern writer, Frank Waters" (p. 262).

16.Mary Austin, "Regionalism in American Fiction," The English Journal, 21.2 (Feb., 1932), p. 101.

17.Albert Guerad, "A Mosaic, Not a Synthesis,” Southwest Review, 14 (1929), p. 481.

18.Mary Austin, "Regionalism in American Fiction," p. 106.

19.Indeed this argument has been made, often by minority writers, to suggest that authenticity is a matter of culture and personal history, not art. For example, David Jackson, a music critic, recently said: "I used to resent the Rolling Stones and people like John Mayhall when I first started listening to blues because the one thing that I found and I still think it is a valid criticism against a lot of whites attaching themselves to an alien tradition is that the blues tradition came out of an experience that was not quite the same as Mick Jagger or Eric Clapton or even John Hammond Jr. I'd say that someone like John Hammond does a good imitation of it or a good rendition or interpretation of blues material." "Multi-Fusion in the Eighties," Contact II, Spring 1980, p. 19.

20.I use the term Anglo as it is commonly used in the Southwest to indicate someone of Anglo-Saxon heritage in distinction to Native American Indian and Hispanic heritages. Obviously there are differences in the backgrounds or Anglos who write about Native Americans or Hispanics. For example, William Eastlake grew up in New Jersey and first came to the Southwest as an adult. In contrast, Frank Waters has some Indian blood and has lived with Native Americans most or his life. However, I do not think this invalidates the point that one's native language and formative culture is not chosen; it is that which allows one to grow up from infancy into adolescence. This question is even more complicated with bilingual, bicultural writers, such as Scott Momaday.

21.Note for example the point of view in Frank Waters' Masked Gods: Navajo and Pueblo Ceremonialism: "This exploration into the life and ceremonialism of the Pueblos and Navajos must also be a probing of our own contrasting life, our own religious, social, and scientific ceremonialism --our own kachina cults" (italics added), p. xvii.

22.Guerard, p. 481.

23.Henry Smith, "A Note on the Southwest,"  Southwest Review, 14 (1929), p. 278.

24.Dudley Winn, "The Southwest Regional Straddle," in T.M. Pearce and A. P. Thomason, Southwestems Write (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1946), p. 284.

25.Winn, p. 289.

26.Dike, p. 85.

27.Spencer, p. 254. Again Dike makes a comparable point, saying that in nineteenth century local color, characters are "not 'real' in the sense that one's own experience or the experience of a member of one's group is real," p. 87.

28.Raymond Otis, Little Valley (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1937), p. 158.

29.Gladys A. Reichard, Navajo Religion: A Study of Symbolism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950), p. 20.

30.James Parsons, "The Uniqueness of California," American Quarterly, 7, 1 (Spring 1955), pp. 45-55.

31.Sanford Marovitz, "The Enigma of Western Realism," unpublished essay given at the Western American Literature Association conference, Albuquerque, October 1979, p. 16.

 

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