Monday, 23 February 2015

'That'll be the Day'

The scene I chose involves Wayne's character Ethan formally disown Debbie as his blood kin. I feel this scene Exemplifies the hard line standards of the west. Almost every single aspect of this scene provides how tough the west is to live in and how tough it makes someone who lives in it. 

To start with we see Martin getting water from a small stream dribbling off a cliff face. when his water bottle is filled to his satisfaction he eagerly drinks straight from the fountain himself, which exemplifies his dehydration from such an inconsistent supply of water, which while could be detrimental to his health he must accept because that is his only choice if he is to survive out on the harsh plains.
When he joins Ethan out in the open sunlight he gives the water bottle he filled to his injured friend and attends to a fire the two of them have created. At first this confused me since evidently, with the sheer amount of sun in the scene, there is no absence of heat nor is there any food to be cooked on the fire. He places something that, if I didn't know better, I would have thought was a sword, or something similarly metal perhaps to seal Ethan's wounds with the searing heat. This again shows the harshness of the west since not only do people have to tend to their own injuries but they have to prevent infection through burning rather than sanitary means.
Ethan is in this scene clearly injured, most noticeably on his shoulder (shown by the sling holding the injury in place) but also it would appear on his chest (shown by the tight wrapping around his chest). I cannot say what aliment caused him to need this bandaging but at a guess its more likely to be an open cut or something similar, on or around his chest rather than a broken rib (in which case I don't know if compressing it in such a manner would be a good idea). Assuming that the wound is an open or once open cut makes sense however with no blood on the dressing it is evident that they either managed to stop the bleeding (most probably by sealing with the burning metal aforementioned) or that Ethan simply didn't bleed that much in the first place. This suggests that his body has hardened to the western hardships, which suggests that they are so encompassing that to live in the west is to evolve to suit it. This idea is only backed up when we find out that the reason Ethan's shoulder is bandaged in place like it is is because of being poisoned either with an arrow or a snake bite that Martin is 'surprised' he hasn't died from yet.
When Ethan gives Martin his will before we even find out that it is a will we find that martin has great difficulty reading. Which at first points out how little academia means to the west, martin is still a successful young man but that is because he knows how to survive, not because he knows how to read like what would be needed in eastern America. It also crossed my mind the question 'If he doesn't know how to read, how could he send all those letters back home?' but I imagine that he did so heavily relying on Ethan's help and support if not then as someone to whom he dictated what he wanted to be written down to.
In his crudely written will Ethan formally disowns Debbie as his niece, favoring instead to give all his possessions to his adoptive nephew martin, I personally am unsure of the intentions of  Ethan in making martin read out the will, whether they were meant to be caring, in the sense that he was choosing him over everyone else, or if it was meant as a formal declaration that he no longer has a niece by the name of Debbie. If it is the latter than its lucky as that's exactly how Martin saw it.
In his anger at Ethan disowning Debbie, Martin bursts, so to speak, and at first goes to stab Ethan with something he grabs out of the fire, upon realizing that he still respects Ethan as an uncle and as a friend and the fact he couldn't kill him because he himself would probably die out in the west alone he drops the thing back in the fire and instead opts for an incredibly bitter 'I wish you'd died' to which Ethan replies with this posts namesake 'that'll be the day'. This is suggestive of again the brutality of the west, particularly in how Ethan reacts, hes been hardened by the west to the extent that it'll 'be the day' when he finally dies, which highlights how many times he has previously come close and yet still survived so that now one could say he sees himself as immortal within a human range. Martins response of anger can be seen as a young buck still learning about how unfair the life on the plains is, he still sees the injustice and he is still eager to resolve it if he can, in getting angry he shows his lack of achievement in this.
In conclusion this scene is exemplary of how the west changes people through and as well as putting them through almost insufferable hardships to the point that one can see death as something to be looked forward to, something that can almost be admired as peaceful, something that'll be the simultaneously best and worst day of every westerners life.

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