Don Draper Studies II: Mad Men as Western

J.L. Wall

J.L. Wall is a native Kentuckian in self-imposed exile to the Midwest, where he teaches writing to college students and over-analyzes Leonard Cohen lyrics.

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6 Responses

  1. Brett says:

    Great post. I agree that the city’s anonymity is one of the great attractions for Don Draper. He can work and play in an environment where he doesn’t have to worry about “people talking”, like in a small town. He can adopt the Don Draper identity and have his flings mostly without worrying about running into someone from his previous life as Dick Whitman.

    I do find it interesting that it wasn’t enough for Dick Whitman to simply get away from the area of his birth. Rather than trying to change what his name meant somewhere else, he simply took a new one along with a new persona. There must be a psychological component to that (particularly since when he’s caught as Dick Whitman, his entire body language and personality seem to change).Report

  2. Tod Kelly says:

    I liked this post a lot, and it gives me an interesting thought experiment about one of my favorite TV shows to kick around.

    One of the reasons that Mad Men works, I think, is that it is looking at the issues you talk about in a setting that isn’t the old west – which, for us carries with it a mythic quality. What I love about Mad Men is that the society you see there – home, work, sex, etc., is simultaneously so foreign and so immediate. An old west pilot where a woman is told she can’t be a banker due to her sex might convey the same basic message, but the scene in the MadAve pilot where Joan is showing Peggy the electric typewriter in a modern office, saying that it’s so easy even a woman can use it (Or something like that, I’m going off memory here) is powerful to me precisely because its not so removed from the office I work in now.Report

  3. greginak says:

    Interesting post. In a way Don is the epitome of the classic self made man but he is among a tribe of privileged men who are where they are based on what their families have made. There is a bit of Great Gatsby in Mad Men. He has benefited from anonymity and the ability to remake himself away from his tragic upbringing. His Americaness in his hard work, talent and successful reinvention makes him appealing despite his other less then appealing actions.Report

  4. Robert Lee says:

    on an unrelaated note…ive been look for a suit like the one william shatner wears on the star trek episode “a piece of the action” not that im that much of a treky i just love the suit
    so if anyone knows where i can find something similar please reply im desperate hereReport