Monday, January 25, 2010

Jesse James, the Outlaw

"Then I simultaneously drew my pistol and bounded toward my horse, while giving utterances to an Apache yell." (Ch V)

Interesting that, as the detective is freed from his bonds and runs from the James brothers (who have discovered his deceit and are ready to kill him), he gives an Apache yell.  If Deloria is right about whites "playing Indian" to get access to traits they associate with Native Americans, then what traits is the detective trying to access here? Rebellion? Obstinacy? The refusal to give up in the face of overwhelming odds?

I love that it's the figure of *law and order* who gives this yell here as he's freed. Perhaps, "civilization" needs its "savagery" if its to survive its own brutality--but then, that's not really the binary working here. I'd be better to say order must have its chaos if its own structures of good and evil are going to compete on more equal terms. After all, if the James brothers were as savage/brutal/evil as they seem to be proving themselves to be, then this detective should be as dead as those killed in Chapter 1, and good--or, at least, lawfulness--doesn't stand a chance.

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