P.93- "Leeland believes people will be glad to trade at a local ranch supply store that saves a long drive into town." This indicates that the story tells us more about the power of the home than of anything else. Because Leeland wants to be in the West, yet there are very few jobs. But the home is so powerful over the place and the people, that they decide to stay.
P.92- "Overnight the tourist business in Unique falls flat". This demonstrates that the story offers a mythic view of the American West, as the family lose their business and their life is not as good as it once was in Western America.
P.98- "Leeland Lee & Son, Livestock." This shows that the fact that Leeland could just move from place to place and manage to get work indicates that their lives didn't have much, if any security. And also the notion that the West in America provided great opportunities, as Leeland was going to set up his own buisness with his dad before his son changed his mind.
P.95- "Leeland quits driving trucks and again tries raising hogs with his father on the ranch." However, this proves that because Leeland had so many jobs, it also demonstrates just how hard it was at this time. Especially as he had to result in driving trucks, which was probably not the done thing to do in Western America, as jobs in farming and agriculture would have been preferred and more acceptable in the society.
Irony: Because it is called "Job History" it is as if the jobs are history in the American West. Especially because Leeland cannot find work or goes from job to job throughout the whole story. Examples: P.97- "Leeland quits truck driving" and P.95- "Leeland quits driving trucks and again tries raising hogs with his father on the ranch."
However, some might argue that the book isn't just about jobs, or having a job, but it is also about becoming. The book resembles the idea that people are not made by themselves, they are made by the environment. And people have adapted and changed by their environment- indicating that people do not make up their own identity.
P.95- "He confuses ozone with oxygen" This shows ignorance associated with cowboys and the West, which signifies the mythology again.
P.94- "The baby is a real crier and Leeland quiets him down with spoonfuls of beer" This shows just how the story offers a revisionist interpretation of the mythology of the Western settlement, because it was considered a social norm in the West, and was a long-lasting view that was acceptable by the majority of society.
P.95- "In the spring they move back to Unique and Leeland tries truck driving again" The fact that he has control, to try and find work to support his family- as this was traditional in Western America. It also shows how similar the story is to others, such as Shane and Little House On The Prairie, where the male determines what happens and where the family go next. Because in "Job History" it is shown a lot as I previously mentioned, which is common in Western mythology.
I think that you can learn more about the people than the brevity, because not only does it show the hardships in which the family faced, it resembles the way in which the American West is portrayed throughout the story, which have been seen like that for many years.
Questions I came up with:
Do you feel that the stories show what the American West was like?
Do you feel that "Wyoming Stories" presents a good insight into the mythology of the American West?
Grace La Traille
Proulx, A. (1999) Close Range Wyoming Stories. United States: Charles Scribner's Sons.