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The Ox-Bow Incident (Anglais) Poche – 27 avril 2004

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Gil and I crossed the eastern divide about two by the sun. We pulled up for a look at the little town in the big valley and the mountains on the other side, with the crest of the Sierra showing faintly beyond like the rim of a day moon. We didn't look as long as we do sometimes; after winter range, we were excited about getting back to town. When the horses had stopped trembling from the last climb, Gil took off his sombrero, pushed his sweaty hair back with the same hand, and returned the sombrero, the way he did when something was going to happen. We reined to the right and went slowly down the steep stage road. It was a switch-back road, gutted by the run-off of the winter storms, and with brush beginning to grow up in it again since the stage had stopped running. In the pockets under the red earth banks, where the wind was cut off, the spring sun was hot as summer, and the air was full of a hot, melting pine smell. Rivulets of water trickled down shining on the sides of the cuts. The jays screeched in the trees and flashed through the sunlight in the clearings in swift, long dips. Squirrels and chipmunks chittered in the brush and along the tops of snow-sodden logs. On the outside turns, though, the wind got to us and dried the sweat under our shirts and brought up, instead of the hot resin, the smell of the marshy green valley. In the west the heads of a few clouds showed, the kind that come up with the early heat, but they were lying still, and over us the sky was clear and deep.

It was good to be on the loose on that kind of a day, but winter range stores up a lot of things in a man, and spring roundup hadn't worked them all out. Gil and I had been riding together for five years, and had the habit, but just the two of us in that shack in the snow had made us cautious. We didn't dare talk much, and we wanted to feel easy together again. When we came onto the last gentle slope into the valley, we let the horses out and loped across the flat between the marshes where the red-wing blackbirds were bobbing the reeds and twanging. Out in the big meadows on
both sides the long grass was bending in rows under the wind and shining, and then being let upright again and darkening, almost as if a cloud shadow had crossed it. With the wind we could hear the cows lowing in the north, a mellow sound at that distance, like little horns.

It was about three when we rode into Bridger's Wells, past the boarded-up church on the right, with its white paint half cracked off, and the houses back under the cottonwoods, or between rows of flickering poplars, every third or fourth one dead and leafless. Most of the yards were just let run
to long grass, and the buildings were log or unpainted board, but there were a few brick houses, and a few of painted clapboards with gimcracks around the veranda rails. Around them the grass was cut, and lilac bushes were planted in the shade. There were big purple cones of blossom on them. Already Bridger's Wells was losing its stage-stop look and beginning to settle into a half-empty village of the kind that hangs on sometimes where all the real work is spread out on the land around it, and most of the places take care of themselves.

Présentation de l'éditeur

Set in 1885, The Ox-Bow Incident is a searing and realistic portrait of frontier life and mob violence in the American West. First published in 1940, it focuses on the lynching of three innocent men and the tragedy that ensues when law and order are abandoned. The result is an emotionally powerful, vivid, and unforgettable re-creation of the Western novel, which Clark transmuted into a universal story about good and evil, individual and community, justice and human nature. As Wallace Stegner writes, [Clark's] theme was civilization, and he recorded, indelibly, its first steps in a new country.

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Amazon.com: 94 commentaires
35 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Thoughtful western about results of mob justice. 12 février 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
I am an English teacher. I came across reviews of The Ox-Bow Incident while doing a search for a student. I have always regarded this as a book which should be required reading, both for its literary and social value; and when teaching 11th grade, I have used it as a class assignment. The first part of the book which some readers found slow is really quite necessary; it provides the background that shows the reader that these are quite ordinary people - people that one would meet everyday. It contrasts with the violence in which they later become involved. The lynching of three innocent men is really not the crux of the story but rather the pivotal incident which allows the author to lead the reader to see what happens when one abandons law and order and then, when there are tragic results, must come to terms with his own conscience. I would also recommend the film with Henry Fonda and Anthony Quinn which is well acted and true to the novel. I have generally found that once students get into the novel, the book generates a good deal of thoughtful writing and discussion.
21 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A study in mob psychology. 15 juin 1999
Par R. D. Allison (dallison@biochem.med.ufl.edu) - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
This classic novel by Clark is a superb study of mob rule; of how normal men can allow their inner anger and authoritarianism to control their judgment and honesty. The story is told in the first person by Art Croft, a trailhand who rides into the small Nevada town of Bridger's Wells in 1885 with his friend Gil Carter. The first chapter (there are only five chapters) has all of the structure of a typical western novel (bar, poker game, fight), yet when a young rider arrives to say that some cattle have been stolen and a man killed, the story about how men let anger goad their actions sets the novel apart from other westerns. It is a true classic. In 1977 the Western Writers of America named it one of the top twenty-five western novels of all time (it was ranked second after Wister's "The Virginian"). The book was also made into a classic film starring Henry Fonda. I recommend this book highly. I really don't understand the comments of the reviewer from Massachusetts (of Jan. 10, 1999). The tale is very realistic.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Raw, powerful, insightful, scary 3 décembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche
When I think "western," I think of some piece of pulp that features cowboys 'n' injuns 'n' good guys 'n' bad guys, all shooting at each other and using words like "Partner."
But not this book.
What a raw, powerful, insightful story. It doesn't follow your typical western formula. No, this is a character study. It gives you a cold, unflinching look at mob justice, at how hard it is to go against the crowd, at how sometimes natural leaders should NOT be leaders, and the terrible, tragic results of acting on incomplete or outright false information and taking justice into your own hands.
If you really read it and let yourself become immersed in the events and characters, when you reach certain parts of the book it literally feels like you've been punched in the stomach.
It's moving, forceful writing that leaves you exhausted and almost despairing after the last page is done. It's rare that I read books that physically affect me, but this was one.
By all means, read it. Learn from it.
18 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Ox Bow Incident 19 février 2000
Par Ms. Nancy F. Jones - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Poche Achat vérifié
This is a study in mob violence. It is definitely slow starting and preachy in its first 100 pages. It demonstrates how a charismatic leader who is significantly above most of the gathered cowboys and townsfolk in social status, can override the voices of reason and turn ordinary people into a lynch mob. It plays on the distrust of the law (see the OJ trial for a modern example) common to everyday folk in the West of 1885. I wish there had been more character development. One knows little about any of these people, including the victims. However, it provides a valuable insight into the ease with which a crowd can be turned into a mob, and how hard it is for an individual to speak up against a mob. Definitely a worthwhile book to read.
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Mob justice in the Old West 6 septembre 2003
Par gac1003 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Walter Van Tilburg Clark's classic novel begins like many Westerns: two ranchers, Art Croft and Gil Carter, ride into the town of Bridger's Wells. They stop at the saloon, have a few drinks after which a poker game begins followed by a fight. Things change quickly when a young man storms into town with a tale of murder and cattle rustling. Though he hasn't actually seen any of the events he's describing, the young man's tale is strong enough to insense the men in the bar. They form a lynch mob and go after the murderers and rustlers.
"The Ox-Bow Incident" is told through the eyes of Art Croft. From him, we see and hear Farnley who is dead set on forming the mob to exact justice; of Osgood and Davies, who both try to convince the group that justice can only be handled properly by the law; and Art himself who has doubts about the lynch mob but goes along, like every other man.
This is a story about who determines what is right and wrong and how justice should be determined with all the facts instead of partial truths and one-sided ideals. It deals with the mob mentality and its consequences. Not your typical fare with a Western. Clark expertly handles the subject matter, and as I was reading, I felt as though I were part of the mob, knowing the mob is not right but powerless to do anything to stop it, swept along for the ride and the outcome. A definite classic.
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