A fundamental aspect of Turner’s Frontier thesis focuses on the relationship between “savagery and civilization” (1134). In Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, protagonist Grainier constantly retreats to an area of isolation in the woods, one where “the forests that [fill] his life [are] so thickly populous” that “they [block] him from seeing how far away the world [is]” (112). He proves to be self sufficient by surviving in the wilderness as a free man on the open land, much like Europeans who came to the Frontier were forced to do. Likewise, River of Shadows by Rebecca Solnit speaks to the evolution and innovation that came from the Frontier. Turner credits the Frontier with teaching Americans how to think and act, creating democracy and offering new opportunities with westward expansion. River of Shadows highlights Silicon Valley and Hollywood, perhaps the epitome of American modernization, both of which appear on the west coast.
Turner’s Frontier Thesis Compared to River of Shadows and Train Dreams
Published inText Comparisons