The myth of the Old West frontier is our national epic; the quintessential American hero is the cowboy. Scrutinizing the history and rhetoric behind the legend, however, reveals more fantasy than fact. The often told story of Mathew “Bones” Hooks, an African American cowboy from the Texas Panhandle, replete with iconic imagery, also reveals Hooks conflicted about his identity and social status as a black man in rapidly changing, early twentieth century society. This paper enlists Walter Fisher’s 1984 narrative paradigm, highlights the conflicting characterizations of Hooks and examines the underlying rhetorical themes shaping his story. Lacking the “logic of good reasons,” reality collides with myth dissuading the audience from the narrative’s probability and fidelity.
"Bones Hooks and Western Folklore: A Rhetorical Analysis of a Pioneering African American Cowboy,"
Storytelling, Self, Society:
2, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/storytelling/vol7/iss2/3