It's now we've crossed pease river: Themes of voyage and return in Texas folk songs

Ken Baake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Christopher Booker's study of human storytelling offers the theme of 'voyage and return' as one of the seven underlying plots of human narratives. Resistance to the power of the cowboy archetype characterized much of the criticism of the foreign policy of US president George Bush. Because the Great Plains has often been portrayed as vast, wind tormented, desiccated, without succor of trees and nurturing meadows, and because it represents in American mythology the wide border between homelands and the dangerous frontier, it has been the setting for many narratives of a heroic crossing over and return. The Great Plains in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were often described in naturalistic terms as an area that is expansive and intimidating. Around the 100th meridian the trees, lush grasses, and the life-giving waters of the great river valleys yield to short grasses, parched-land, wild animals, and an unending-canopy of relentless sun.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalGreat Plains Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • African American
  • Buffalo
  • Cowboy
  • Mexican border
  • Narrative
  • Words


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