Study Guide

Angle of Repose Visions of the West

By Wallace Stegner

Visions of the West

Here's a shocker for you: life in the Wild West wasn't quite like it's depicted in cowboy movies. For example, you don't usually hear about how mega-wealthy businessmen used shady labor practices to line their own pockets. You don't hear the stories of the many immigrant groups who made a home in that unforgiving country. And, you don't hear a lick about the day-to-day lives of the regular folk who bucked tradition to become trailblazing pioneers. Ultimately, Angle of Repose shows us that life in the American West was a lot more complicated than modern stereotypes would have us believe.

Questions About Visions of the West

  1. In what ways do we see the West change over the course of the novel?
  2. Compare and contrast Susan's views of the Northeast and the West.
  3. Why does Susan fall so hard in love with Mexico?
  4. What is Susan's favorite place to live in the West? Her least favorite?

Chew on This

Although pioneers like Oliver helped build the West from nothing, their hard work has been swept away by the conformity of the modern era.

Although Susan loves the West, she never stops trying to transform it into the Northeast of her youth.