Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Neuendorf, Kimberly

Subject Headings

Ford, John, 1894-1973, Western films -- History and criticism, Film genres, Western film genre, Content analysis

Abstract

This content analysis uses the entire selection of John Ford's Westerns from 1939 to 1964, as well as top Westerns by other directors over the course of the same years in order to see more universal trends in the Western genre that are not unique only to John Ford. Items involving character portrayals and plot themes are used to ascertain how the films changed during those years. The psychological dimensions of the characters are also important, and it was speculated that a gradual change would take place in the types of character traits that were exhibited in the films. The findings revealed that the psychological portrayals moved in cycles, with traits reappearing over and over again during the years analyzed. It was found that John Ford Westerns portray more diverse ethnic groups overall, while portraying violence as generally less heroic than it is in non-Ford Westerns. It was further found that Westerns in general showed violence toward Native Americans as less heroic as the years passed, and violence toward Caucasians was shown as more heroic

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Communication Commons

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