Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing

First Advisor

Ditsky, J.


Literature, American.




This paper closely analyses the Native American stereotype as presented in selected novels of Zane Grey. Brief explanations of the western formula novel, the Imaginary Indian and American colonial attitudes, and the anthropological concept of liminality provide theoretical background for the paper. This leads to an exegesis of selected Zane Grey novels in order to determine how the Native American is presented. The paper argues that while Grey makes use of the Indian stereotype, he does so in a fashion appropriate to the plot of each novel, and he gradually moves from stereotyping to the creation of developed Native American characters. These characters encourage positive associations between the white readership and the red characters, through the limen of the text. However, within the texts, Native characters are never permitted to completely enter white society---a reflection of the actual failure of assimilation policies. Instead, individual white and Native characters create their own common ground: a hybrid community in the liminal space between white and Indian societies, signified by mixed marriages. This community becomes hope that some legacy of the Indian will survive even as their people die out, and hope that this legacy and values will revitalize and purify a greedy and corrupted white society. In addition, since Grey's novels offer a satisfying liminal space for a very large audience, the ideas presented in these novels could affect mass culture: creating a more positive view of Native Americans, and a positive vision of Native-white marriages as both a Darwinist improvement of the human species and a solution to the problem of the vanishing Native American. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 42-03, page: 0764. Adviser: John Distsky. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2003.