McGehee High School
1. Were the fifties really Happy Days, as a television show once characterized the era, or is the period more accurately described as an era of psychological, social, and political tensions?
Although the fifties were a time of great flux, it still was a time period of people who were psychologically deceived. Society had painted certain images in Americans’ minds of how a person should live. In the excerpt “Good House Keeping”, it talks about how the average wife should live and react to their family. A good wife is friendly, a part of her community. Also a good wife is interested in her husband, her home, and her children. Basically, she’s constantly a tending to everyone’s needs without frowning. A complaining woman, dominating woman, and a wife-in-a-rut were considered troublemakers. If you were a woman of this quality believed to have these qualities you didn’t fit the picture Americans created. Also, in the excerpt “Newspaper Survey”, the word “conformity” had become a bad word. Many people were concerned that they were “running with the crowd” too much and losing their individuality. The intelligent conformist observes the rules of society yet maintains his individuality. The “bad” type of conformist may conform too much. Dr. Else B. Kris asserts “Doing what other people do can make your own life happier, more interesting and certainly safer. On the other hand, conforming is unwise when it mean slavishly doing or thinking what everyone else does or thinks even though you are rebelling inside. In these cases, following your own judgment and convictions is the best choice despite the fact that it means bucking the main stream.” Society had painted images in people’s min into making believe that there were only two types of people: intelligent conformists and rebels.
2. Why do the fifties prompt such nostalgia for poodle skirts, sock hops, hula hoops, stay-at-home moms, and Fourth of July parades?
Nostalgia was one way to...