The Wild West: an Analysis of Post-Civil War Tension in John Ford’s “My Darling Clementine” Essay

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Discuss the thematic implications of Doc Holliday and Granville Thorndyke (the Shakespearean actor) in “My Darling Clementine.” What is Ford trying to say about the relation to the civilized East to the unsettled West. (Clementine vs. Chihuahua is relevant here.)

The Wild West: An Analysis of Post-Civil War Tension in John Ford’s “My Darling Clementine”

Following the end of the United States’ Civil War, new territories had becomes states, notably what is now known as the West. The West, iconized by its Cowboys, gunfights, and horses in the years that followed the Civil War, made its way to the silver screen as one of the first genres of movies to be produced. The genre is popularized as a “Western” and is devoted to telling the
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This is shown when Chihuahua meets the marshal in the tavern, slaps him and yells out that “this is Doc’s city”. As the story develops, a fond friendship between Doc and the marshal unravels. The differences between the marshal and Doc seem to personify the discrepancies between the East and the West. From the first scene where Doc is in the bar where he meets the marshal for the first time, the viewer can clearly identify the elegant black coat on Doc. For the others, it is the usual rugged look - denim and hats. The eloquence shown by the Eastern character among the Westerners bluntly shows Ford’s point-of-view on the East. In another scene where Doc and the marshal find Granville Thorndyke, the Shakespearean actor, John Ford portrays the educational advancement in the Eastern character of Doc Holliday as he knows and wants to listen to the Shakespearean poem. The poem is of great importance to Doc as it relates to what he is experiencing in his personal life. In his personal life, Doc is repetitively seen coughing, a gesture that implicitly foreshadows Doc’s disease. This is asserted when Clementine Carter (acted by Cathy Downs), Doc’s ex-lover comes all the way from Boston and asks him to come back with her to fight the disease and perhaps even cure him.
The Shakespearean actor Thorndyke is seen reciting one of Shakespeare’s most well-known poems from Hamlet with the renown “to be or not to