Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 120

116 Populär Culture Review joum ey would prove transformative . . (Will 304). Wister clearly saw the difference between east and west, civilization and frontier, beyond the mere physical, and brought that as well as his actual experiences to his novel; “As the narrative proceeds, the narrator perceives that ‘[c]learly this wild country spoke a language other than m ine’” (305). The literary/filmic westem character reflects this perceived reality, but in a fashion more grand and dramatic. He becomes everything that the verbose, deceptive, milquetoast eastemer is not. The w estem hero “ . . . moves within a sphere o f self-contained masculinity, bringing Order to an unbalanced environment, writing and speaking only when he has something significant— something that signißes — to s a y . . . . W ister’s novel standardizes a genre in which ‘straight talk’ is equated with clear judgm ent, moral probity, and certain masculinity” (Will 295). According to W ister’s protagonist, the west is a place only for men who can do the things they do well (258). It’s easy to understand why a writer would choose a name that signifies something-one that describes-for such a character, rather than just a family name that would not be expected to have any connection to the character outside o f birth. Unlike in the eastem world of small talk, social chit-chat, false politeness and outright deceit, the westem man “. . . speaks and acts as though the world and the word were stable and balanced, as though actions produced effects and words produced meanings”(295). Words produce meanings, and names are words. Both the characters and the creators have reasons for withholding or recreating such meanings. In discussing the frontier’s significance, Turner ended with these words: “And now, four centuries from the discovery o f America, at the end o f a hundred years o f life under the Constitution, the frontier has gone, and with its going has closed the first period o f American history” (88). As a nation defined itself in terms o f the frontier, so did men go to the frontier to define themselves. This makes the frontier-the American w est-a uniquely suitable setting for a Man with No Name. O f course, this means that much in the realm o f Science fiction could work as well. Science fiction has its own frontiers; space, the “final frontier” (Star Trek was partly inspired by the westem series, Wagon Train) and the frontier o f the future, o f new technology (Geraghty 194). These frontiers are so stränge in themselves, however, that a character’s namelessness cannot add much to the narrative, and, a name that defies human naming conventions is as good as no name anyway. In Order to have effect, the