violence characterize many of these stories.nScholars like Annette Kolodny, Patricia Limerick, andnRichard Slotkin have examined traditional attitudes towardnthe land and its people and found those attitudes characterizednby what one of the most prolific Western writers, FranknWaters, in The Earp Brothers of Tombstone, describes asnfear of the unknown. “Within the confines of this triumphantnsaga of conquest we are beginning to discern todaynthe subjective and tragical history of a people who failed toncomprehend the forces that drove them. … As the fearnand tension kept mounting within them, they struck out atneverything, the land and its people, with a blind compulsionnto dominate and destroy.” The resulting destruction madenpossible the reassertion of Eastern values. The frequentlynrecurring image of the fort is an imposition against thenshifting sands that threaten to obliterate the lines that havenbeen drawn in them. In the resulting confrontation, thoseninside the fort can only survive by destroying or silencingnwhat is outside it, which they perceive to be the enemy.nThe result of these narrative crosscurrents — the sense ofnmission together with the experience of living in thenland — is a body of important Western narrative. And wenmight keep in mind that the theme of individuals drawnnfrom a world of stable assumptions and moving into a newnphysical environment that challenges the stability of thosenassumptions makes an “American” story synonymous withnthe “Western” story. In narratives by Western Americannwriters — whether from European, Native American, ornChicano backgrounds — the reader discovers the interactionsnof contradictory but not mutually exclusive forces.nThis is not the either-or story of the popular Western.nWestern narratives of horror are the result of imaginationsnthat see themselves — and therefore define themselves as —nseparate from the land. From this perspective, one may readnJames Pike’s early 19th-century journals and Vardis Fisher’snnovel Mountain Man as horrific narratives of encounternboth with savage conditions and savage mentalities that feelnfree to impose themselves and their values on wodds theynknow little or nothing about. Other imaginations worknthrough relationship rather than through separation. Writersnlike Mary Austin, Ivan Doig, Wallace Stegner, WrightnMorris, John Nichols, Marilynne Robinson, and HarveynFergusson reject an exclusive story generated by lines drawnnto protect the values of an imported culture. These writersnincorporate a story of mission with a commitment to anphysical environment; the resulting narratives value inclusivitynrather than exclusivity. Lines drawn in the sand becomenfootpaths that connect human beings, rather than walls thatnprotect an inner group.nMary Austin, an early 20th-century writer, in her influentialnThe Land of Little Rain, uses her title to work againstnthe Anglo-Saxon word “desert” and the perceived Anglo-nSaxon penchant for definition. Austin describes this penchantnas the “desire for perpetuity” expressed by verballynwalling in land that has been literally or metaphoricallyncleared. The individual who sees himself as distinct from thenland can then imagine controlling, walling out, or definingnwhat is essentially separate from himself This imagination,naccording to Austin, confronts and seeks to impose itselfnupon the land. Naming so imposes, and naming a lake or anmountain after oneself is an effort to give permanence ton28/CHRONICLESnnnhuman transience. In contrast, she says, “I confess to a greatnliking for the Indian fashion of name-giving: every mannknown by that phrase which best expresses him to who sonnames him. Thus he may be Mighty-Hunter, or Man-nAfraid-of-a-Bear, according as he is called by friend ornenemy, and Scar-Face to those who knew him by the eye’sngrasp only.” This practice of naming derives from thenperception of a fluid world where identities are relationalnand communal rather than tied to a single fixed image ornverbal sound. The Indian, from Austin’s perspective, valuesna world of common involvement. “By the time she wrotenThe Land of Little Rain,” says Melody Graulich, Austinn”had begun to follow the ‘trails’ in the desert and tonunderstand the patterns of life in the region. Despite hernfeeling of being a loner and her interest in isolatednwanderers, her ecological perspective extended to her studynof local cultures as she attempted to understand theninterrelations between humans, nature, and culture.”nAustin was a Southwestern writer, and Southwesternnnarrative generally has been sensitive to the prominencenof the neighborly relationship between Mexico andnthe United States. Central to this writing is the image ofnborders, but less as lines of demarcation than as’ points ofntransition. This imagination — in Fergusson or RudolfonAnaya or Scott Momaday or Tony Hillerman — sees changenas fundamental to ongoing processes that in turn providenstrength and stability, even in a worid constantly threateningnto slip away. The Grand Canyon, for example, is continuallynbeing broken down by forces of erosion. Sheets of fracturednrock, precariously balanced boulders, and fields of pebblesntestify to the dynamics altering the face of the canyon, andnthese proofs of the unending forces of change take placenwithin a framework of almost incomprehensible size andnpower. The very existence of the canyon — the thought ofnthe energies that created it and the time frame within whichnthey occurred, the marked delineations upon the rocknescarpments that exhibit graphic evidence of the history ofnthe planet — staggers the human imagination. When thenAnasazi found shelter within the canyon’s cliffs a thousandnyears ago, they must have been as much comforted by itsnstrength as awed by its imperturbability.nSouthwestern writing takes its characteristics from theseninteracting worlds at whose core is the reality of change. In anphysical environment of such seeming stability, the idea ofnan individual “drawing a line in the sand” is almost too naivento merit further contemplation. Tony Hillerman, for example,none of those Western writers whose work has capturednthe attention of Eastern readers, builds his detective fictionnaround the intrusion of the academic mind seeking to profitnby digging in the Southwestern sands for the inscriptions ofnthe people who once lived there and established a connectionnwith the earth.nOf course, all writing is an act of inscription. Thendifference between John Winthrop, however, and a Westernernlike Austin or Ivan Doig is that the Westerner seeksnlines (language) that include rather than exclude the naturalnenvironment as well as other human beings; Doig’s biographynWinter Brothers and Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Reposenseem to me particularly fine examples of the use of lines thatnwork to include. Granted that writing inscribes, how then