The American West through Representations of the World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup

dc.contributor.advisorSeriff, Suzanne
dc.creatorWilson, Sylvia
dc.date.accessioned2019-05-13T19:17:29Z
dc.date.available2019-05-13T19:17:29Z
dc.date.issued2019-05
dc.description.abstractThe Sweetwater Jaycees’ World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup includes a pageant; a carnival; community dances; guided hunts; bus tours of rattlesnake dens; a gun, coin and knife show; cook-offs; and a flea market, all in addition to the main event—the rattlesnake pits. As the rattlesnakes cycle through the coliseum, they are weighed, milked of their venom, draped over participants’ shoulders for photographs, and finally slaughtered. The Roundup is known globally for its provocative handling of rattlesnakes and resulting imagery which has positioned the event as a captivating subject for photography, film, and television. This project seeks to analyze the ways in which three media representations of the Roundup uphold, construct, and challenge myths of the American West. First, I examine Richard Avedon’s In the American West photography series which tells a story of American isolation, hopelessness, and frightening beauty as depicted in the faces of individuals he encountered at the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup. Next, I investigate the Simpsons’ “Whacking Day” episode, which was inspired by the Roundup in Sweetwater and uses parody to comment on issues of virility, groupthink, education, religion, and environmental justice in the West, and more broadly, rural, working-class America. Finally, I analyze the Miss Snake Charmer documentary, directed by Rachael Waxler and EmaLee Arroyo, as it depicts coming of age as a woman in the American West. In primarily focusing the film on the preparatory process for the pageant, rather than competition night itself, the documentary emphasizes the ways in which girls are molded into the “ideal” Western woman. Through this work, I investigate how a single event comes to serve as a tool for artists wishing to uphold, build upon, or challenge myths of the American West. Furthermore, as myths of the American West have come to define parts of American national identity, representations of the Rattlesnake Roundup not only sustain or dispute heritage narratives of the West, but of the United States more broadly.en_US
dc.description.departmentAnthropologyen_US
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/2152/74550
dc.identifier.urihttp://dx.doi.org/10.26153/tsw/1668
dc.language.isoengen_US
dc.relation.ispartofHonors Thesesen_US
dc.rights.restrictionOpenen_US
dc.subjectThe American Westen_US
dc.subjectRattlesnake Roundupen_US
dc.subjectSweetwateren_US
dc.subjectrepresentationen_US
dc.subjectheritageen_US
dc.subjectmythen_US
dc.subjectRichard Avedonen_US
dc.subjectthe Simpsonsen_US
dc.subjectbeauty pageanten_US
dc.subjectdocumentaryen_US
dc.subjectphotographyen_US
dc.subjecttelevisionen_US
dc.titleThe American West through Representations of the World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundupen_US
dc.typeThesisen_US

Access full-text files

Original bundle

Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Name:
Thesis Sylvia Wilson Final Version.pdf
Size:
3.93 MB
Format:
Adobe Portable Document Format
Description:

License bundle

Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
No Thumbnail Available
Name:
license.txt
Size:
1.64 KB
Format:
Item-specific license agreed upon to submission
Description:

Collections