his article aims to provide a basic overview of the Western novel, including its key tropes: Character archetypes, Literary devices, Dramatic showdowns, and Moral ambiguity. Whether you’re an old-timer or a newcomer to the genre, you’ll find a list of Western novel tropes here.
In Western novels, there are several character archetypes. One of the most common is the Wildcard, which is impulsive, meddling, and sarcastic. This character is a rebel, a person of great energy who seeks thrills and adventure. However, this character can also be cynical and quick-tempered.
A castaway is a great example of the Wildcard character archetype, who seeks to find inspiration in unexpected places. A castaway has many of the same traits as a leader but is a bit gullible. A castaway character often finds inspiration in a headstrong, yet fluid Wildcard.
Another character archetype is the robber. They often imitate circus clowns and use disguises as their source of menace. These characters are often related to each other and are often played by the same actor in dual roles. Farmer’s wives often play a foil role to other female stock characters.
An antihero is a character who is a social outcast and has a different moral code than a traditional hero. They are often self-serving and driven by selfishness. They also tend to be very flawed, but will often overcome their limitations in the end.
Similarly, the quest story is a journey story in which the hero must find something and return to it. The quest story archetype first appeared in 725 BCE and is used today in books like The Lord of the Rings (1954) and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1871). Symbolism is a common literary device, and most works of literature contain it. Many of these archetypes are connected to concepts such as death or rebirth.
Among the character archetypes of the western genre are the cowboy and the outlaw. The former may be the hero of the story, but he may be an isolated lone wolf, while the latter may have a thick shell. Aside from being the main character, the latter character may act as a versatile support character, jockeying for the spotlight with the main character.
Another character archetype is the scheming child. A sidekick is a character that follows the main character. A sidekick might be a bard or a fool. Frodo has a loyal companion named Samwise Gamgee by his side throughout the story.
Literary devices are techniques used to tell stories and guide the reader beyond the literal details. These techniques are what make the best works of literature unique and compelling. A list of the most common devices in western novels is presented below. These devices are used to create a deeper connection with the reader and inspire them to think outside of the box.
One of the most common devices is imagery, which is a way to describe things. It can be literal or figurative and relies on the interplay of language and sensation to create an intense mental picture. The use of imagery, as opposed to verbal description, is a common technique in western novels.
Other literary devices are similes and metaphors. Similes and metaphors use comparison words such as “like” or “as,” and they can be a way to connect two or more elements. A simile, for example, implies that a tree isn’t big enough to be a god. Therefore, its “godhood” is irrelevant.
Onomatopoeias are another popular literary device, which uses sound to create a sensory environment. Onomatopoeias are not only useful in writing but are also fun to use. They can be derived from everyday sounds or from listening to your surroundings.
Another literary device is the use of juxtaposition. This literary device helps the reader understand the characters better. When two seemingly opposite ideas are presented next to each other, the juxtaposition breaks this binary. People often think that black and white are polar opposites, but juxtaposition can allow them to see gray in between them. For example, if two characters are discussing a conflict, they can discuss it, and they may be able to share their thoughts as well.
If you love western novels, you have probably seen a dramatic showdown at some point. They have been a mainstay of the genre for over 100 years. You never know what will happen in a western. The protagonist must face off against the antagonist to survive. And when a showdown does occur, you can be sure that it will be an exciting one.
In western novels, moral ambiguity is a very common theme. For example, the character Kurtz in Heart of Darkness is regarded as a hero by the natives despite his excessive ambition. But the readers soon realize that he does not act in the best interests of his wife. That’s when the ambiguity in his character begins to be problematic.
The use of moral ambiguity in literature and film has been practiced for thousands of years. It was a popular theme in Shakespeare’s plays and the Bible’s Old Testament, as well. However, the rise of morally ambiguous entertainment in contemporary culture has sparked controversy and concern among some scholars. Many argue that the popularity of morally ambiguous entertainment is a reflection of the moral relativity of our culture.
Moral ambiguity in literature can add depth to literary works and make characters more difficult to label. It can also create a more realistic and relatable worldview. Some authors intentionally create moral ambiguity in their stories, highlighting the gray areas of characters and their behavior. While moral ambiguity is often negative, some readers appreciate the complex nature of the characters. As long as there is room for multiple interpretations, moral ambiguity is a popular literary device.
Moral ambiguity is also prevalent in Conrad’s novel. Characters like Kurtz undergo changes in their morality. Conrad is trying to make his characters morally ambiguous. While they are often portrayed as immoral or greedy, they can be seen as good, noble, or immoral by some readers.
Tom Clancy has a different approach to moral ambiguity in his novel, Hunt for Red October. While the protagonist, Ramius, is a rebel who tries to fight Soviet corruption, the officers are naively enamored with the freedom and prosperity of America. Ultimately, Hunt for Red October is not just a riveting thriller, but also a historical document about the Reagan years, when the West still believed in the final victory against Communism. Marxism robbed man of his soul and dignity, as well as individual value.
A Quick List Of Common Western Trophies
- The Sheriff Role
- The Shootout
- the classic Mexican standoff
- the ambush
- The classic standoff
- The duel