Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 128

124 Populär Culture Review D on’t I owe my own honesty something better than that? Would I sit down in a com er rubbin’ my honesty and whisperin’ to it, ‘There! there! I know you ain’t no th ie f ? No, suh; not a little bit! What men say about my nature is not just merely an outside thing. For the fact that I let ‘em keep on sayin’ it is a proof I don’t value my nature enough to shield it from their slander and give them their punishment. And that’s being a poor sort of a jay. (306) Unlike the east, where a name must be preserved for its own sake, a w estem man is defined only by his nature and his actions. Names are too small to define the likes o f the Virginian, Harmonica, or Eastwood’s various bounty hunters. Names in fiction, then, are mainly narrative constructs, making the lack o f a name a construct also. The Man with No Name construct, however, is more a result o f marketing than cinema in Leone’s case and a m atter o f clever characterization in W ister’s. It can be said to not exist in the first place, as they all had names, even if they were just nicknames given them by other characters or a narrator; such nicknames still served the same function as the other characters’ “real” names, that o f giving them a way to refer to each other. Eastwood’s adventurer in A Fistful o f Dollars was originally called “Joe.” In For a Few Dollars More, he was called “M onco.” The knowledge that this means for “one-handed” does little if anything to help establish his identity, although a sharp-eyed viewer might connect this nickname with the fact that the character does m ost things with his left hand while keeping his right hand near his gun. Tuco (Eli W allach) calls Eastwood’s character “Blondie” in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, but we also know him as “The Good.” Once Upon a Time in the West has, as noted above, at least three nicknames in use (including, presumably, “Cheyenne”) and the enigmatic man with no name in High Plains Drifter (Eastwood) receives his name in the film ’s last moments, but only to link two actual identities: the nameless m an’s with the murdered sheriffs. In fact, if he had remained a man with no name, the film ’s major theme o f revenge from beyond the grave would come to naught. The Virginian had a litany o f nicknames, plus a real name that the reader need not know. The “Man with No Name,“ then, is