Gregory Sullivan 9/20/2003 English 1301, Section 63 Erd rich, Louise. "Dear John Wayne". Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. Ed. Gary Colombo, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin's, 2001.705-07.
"Dear John Wayne" seems to be a poem of cowboys and Indians coexisting together peacefully. The setting is at a drive-in during the harsh heat of August, and instead of smoke being used as a distress signal it is being used to ward off mosquitoes. The poem goes on to say "The drum breaks. There will be no parlance". I consider the drum to be the starting of the movie instead of the beginning of a battle followed by Indian battle cries. This shows the peacefulness that is taking place between two very different cultures.
I believe the movie is about prior battles between the Indians and settlers as the poem talks about the arrows shooting through the air. It follows by saying "This wide screen beneath the sign of the bear", makes me think things are even more peaceful because a "bear" approaches, which would be very unusual if it sensed danger. The poem later talks of Indians slipping on butter. Did the Indians introduce the settlers to popcorn? As the movie comes to a conclusion, the poem states "We are back in ourselves".
Does that mean this moment of peace is over? After all, as sang in the song at the end of the poem, "We " ve got them where we want them, drunk, running. They will give us what we want, what we need."Dear John Wayne" seems to be a poem of cowboys and Indians coexisting together peacefully. They will give us what we want, what we need.".