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A Guide to the More Common Literary Genres

Ride the rails to a frontier town, and experience the excitement of a story with cowboys. Be a part of a posse tracking a criminal, or just live the life of the pioneers. A novel set in the western United States featuring the experiences of cowboys and frontiersmen. Many are little more than adventure novels or even pulp fiction, but some have literary value. Examples:

  • Walter Van Tilburg Clark, The Ox-Bow Incident
  • Owen Wister, The Virginian
  • Shane by Jack Schaefer.

Browse Westerns reviewed on Bookhooks

Western Questions to get you started

1. Cowboys seemed to have their own language or dialect. Find examples of “cowboy talk” in the story. Create a “cowboy dictionary” or glossary of unusual terms used in the novel and give the intended meanings of the words used.

2. What hardships did the characters in your story experience that have been wiped out by modern technology? Exchange some of the “olden-day” problems for “modern-day” ones.

3. Westerns always have a villain and a hero. Describe what personality qualities make each of these characters the hated villain or the loved hero.

4. Choose a favourite part in your story where a crucial event takes place. Map the setting from a ‘birds-eye view’. Use symbols to explain where the action(s) take place.

5. A character’s physical appearance can help you imagine their role in the story more clearly. Costumes set the scene for the time and place that a story takes place. Westerns conjure images of elaborate costumes. Choose a character from the story and design a costume for a particular scene as if you were going to provide this drawing to a seamstress for sewing. Recommend the kind of fabric and the colours you would use.

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Major genres (fiction) Click on a genre for detailed information

Action/AdventureAnimal StoriesDrama Fantasy Historical Fiction Horror HumourMagic Realism Mystery Poetry Realism Romance Science FictionWestern