Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

P. Jane Hafen

Number of Pages



The literature of the American West, much like the history of this region, is replete with images and stories of violence. Although pop culture (i.e. popular Westerns, film, television, etc.) has inculcated the idea that the West is synonymous with violence, the origins of this supposition begins with the arrival of Europeans to the New World, which, at the point of discovery, signified the West. European conquerors and colonists brought with them, along with their hopes and dreams for a fresh start on the new continent, the Judeo-Christian cultural values and traditions of the old continent. This ideological position condoned violent interaction with and subjugation of the wilderness that lay before them, which Europeans invariably gendered female. As commercial, political, and religious interests moved the frontier westward across the continent, from the Atlantic seaboard, beyond the Great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains, and to the Pacific Coast, a wake of broken, tamed, and violated feminine bodies followed. The works of Frank Norris, Sarah Winnemucca (Northern Paiute), and Terry Tempest Williams detail and examine the means, motivations, and implications of violence on the feminine-gendered land and in the lives of women. As Norris, Winnemucca, and Williams demonstrate, violence committed against the feminine does not have simply regional ramifications but cultural and global consequences as well.


American; Body; Body; Feminine; Hopkins, Sarah Winnemucca; Hopkins, Land; Norris, Frank; Spirit; Violating; Western; Western Literature; Williams, Terry Tempest

Controlled Subject

American literature; Women's studies

File Format


File Size

5560.32 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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