SYMBOLISM

   The geographical West has always been a defining characteristic of the United States’national identity. The vastness of the western space naturally lends itself to huge panoramic opening scenes in Western films. But the West has always been symbolic as much as it has been visual. The earliest cinema Westerns looked back at a West that still existed but was fading fast. Westerns of the classic era, up until World War II, tended to view the western frontier in terms of the future, in terms of what might yet be ahead for America. After World War II, however, the West became less a symbol for a place than a symbol for a way of life, a life of rugged individualism. Ronald Reagan, a respectable Western actor in his own right (Cattle Queen of Montana [1954]), parlayed his cowboy image into a political career that led ultimately to the presidency of the United States. The image he cultivated was that of a tough, independent westerner who handled his problems without help from the paternal eastern government. The film image of the westerner thus became an image for political change and governance.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Symbolism — • The investing of outward things or actions with an inner meaning, more especially for the expression of religious ideas Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Symbolism     Symbolism …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • SYMBOLISM —    Symbolism (shocho shugi or sanborizumu), a late 19th century French literary movement, is primarily a reaction against naturalism and realism. Symbolist poets sought an art form that would reflect a deeper experience of existence. The… …   Japanese literature and theater

  • Symbolism — Sym bol*ism, n. 1. The act of symbolizing, or the state of being symbolized; as, symbolism in Christian art is the representation of truth, virtues, vices, etc., by emblematic colors, signs, and forms. [1913 Webster] 2. A system of symbols or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Symbolism —    Symbolism had a fleeting vogue among aesthetes in European art theatres of the 1890s and is best represented in the work of poet playwright Maurice Maeterlinck (1862 1949). Anton Chekhov (1860 1904) was half heartedly attracted to the quasi… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • symbolism — ► NOUN 1) the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. 2) symbolic meaning attached to material objects. 3) (Symbolism) an artistic and poetic movement or style using symbolic images and indirect suggestion to express mystical ideas,… …   English terms dictionary

  • symbolism — 1650s, practice of representing things with symbols, from SYMBOL (Cf. symbol) + ISM (Cf. ism). Attested from 1892 as a movement in French literature that aimed at representing ideas and emotions by indirect suggestion rather than direct… …   Etymology dictionary

  • symbolism — *allegory …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • symbolism — [sim′bə liz΄əm] n. 1. the representation of things by use of symbols, esp. in art or literature 2. a system of symbols 3. symbolic meaning 4. the theories or practices of a group of symbolists, as in art or literature …   English World dictionary

  • Symbolism — Religious symbolism Buddhist symbolism Christian symbolism Jewish symbolism Solar symbols Hindu Symbolism Jain Symbolism Sikh Symbolism Islamic Symbolism Representationalism United States military chaplain symbols Arts Symbolism (arts) or… …   Wikipedia

  • symbolism — [[t]sɪ̱mbəlɪzəm[/t]] 1) N UNCOUNT Symbolism is the use of symbols in order to represent something. The scene is so rich in symbolism that any explanation risks spoiling the effect. ...a film much praised at the time for its visual symbolism. 2) N …   English dictionary

  • symbolism — sym|bol|ism [ sımbə,lızəm ] noun uncount 1. ) the use of symbols to represent a thing, idea, or quality: political/religious/sexual symbolism 2. ) symbolism of the way in which an action or event is a sign of something more important: The… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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