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Critical Article Review Essay

The author of “Be Sure You’re Right, Then Go Ahead”: The Davy Crockett Gun Craze is by Sarah Nilsen. The purpose of the article is to give detail of how Davy Crockett became the emblem that was known for guns and coon skin hats. The author does not specifically identify the purpose of the article. The purpose is well stated in the detail given about how the legend became a legend and what part Walt Disney played in it. The war, families, television shows, toy makers, and any other company that could profit from Davy Crockett and The Wild Frontier played a major role in making Davy such a legend.

A key point from the article are how the NRA’s involvement played a role in making gunplay acceptable. NRA’s reliance on the media to support its political agenda. Disney became more than a wholesome child’s entertainment industry. Disney joined with NRA’s vision on linking the historical past on the role of a gun. The joining of NRA and Disney was a radical change happening that would not only change the way a culture and the public think about childhood gunplay, but the opinion of the media, parents, what is right or wrong, etc. Being that it was Disney, they aligned child’s play and gunplay by connecting it to an American Frontier Hero.

Another key point from the article was The National Rifle Association. The National Rifle Association of America Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, where the National Firearms Museum recreates past history. By showing gun history in America and highlighting how the gun helped to form the United States and became the icon for American identity helped to make gunplay more acceptable. Wall paper, furnishings, toys, games, clothes, were all used to promote gunplay. Steer horns, coonskin hats, rifles, and gun holsters were in adult bedrooms. The article said specifically, “the 1950’s represented a period in which the immense popularity of the television western was instrumental in making the gun into an essential part of American childhood.”

The author listed resource after resource to prove the influence that Davy Crockett had in gunplay becoming a normal and natural thing. Some of the resources that he listed was Life Magazine, Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier, Disneyland, ABC: Davy Crockett in Indian Fighter, Davy Crockett Goes to Congress, Davy Crockett at the Alamo, The Ballad of Davy Crockett, Davy Crockett mambo, books, newspapers, comics, Davy Crockett says.

In contradiction to anti-hunting and anti-gun films like Bambi, Disney was transformed by two main events. One being the strike at the studio in 1941, and the second being Disney’s enlistment of the entire studio for military use during World War II. Sarah Nilsen informs us that by 1943 Disney was producing most of the films for the Navy, Army and other Government agencies. She also says By 1945, Disney was proclaiming that “the generation that used the motion picture to help train its fighters and its workers into the mightiest nation in history, is not apt to ignore the motion picture as an essential tool in the labor of enlightenment, civilization and peace”.

Sarah Nilsen reports from Bogart that a child of a police officer asked his father for real bullets because his sister didn’t die for real with the fake ones. That one statement to me was a real wake up to how we got to where we are today. My opinion of this article is that Sarah Nilsen hit it on the head that the Government as well as big names, that were probably influenced by the Government, had and still has a big impact on the way that history is recreated and told to the generation of today. The step that Disney made back in the 1950’s to start promoting gunplay may have very much so been the open door that the world needed to start wars not only in our own countries, but also in our own families and homes, just like the innocent small child that asked his father for real bullets.

That Disney and other avenues led them to believe that they were supposed to not only pretend to shoot but that they could do it for real and no one would get hurt or that suppose that someone actually did get shot for real that it was alright for them to die for real. The image of they really never die had to be in their heads because what did they see on television. I liked the article by Sarah Nilsen about Davy Crockett and how he became such a legend and how popular not only an icon can become but the idea that the icon represents as well.

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