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What do The Bell Jar and Catcher in the Rye identify as the main concerns of the 1950s for young people - Essay Example

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The progress made in the liberation of women’s rights due to women entering the work force during World War II underwent a severe test at the hands of ideological body snatching by the media and the government. Sexual…
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What do The Bell Jar and Catcher in the Rye identify as the main concerns of the 1950s for young people
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Download file to see previous pages Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of Catcher in the Rye and Esther, the protagonist of The Bell Jar are characters deeply rooted in this conflicting and confusing time. It is probably no accident, then, that both these characters seek professional help in dealing with what may be madness or insanity, or what must may be the stress of living in a time that is not easily understood or explained.
Women in America went to work after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the entry into World War II, and many of them decided that they liked it; American men took it upon themselves in the 1950s to attempt the enforced removal repression of that desire to remain at work. Until America joined the war to fight the dreaded Hun (and the Japanese) in the latter part of 1941, women as a rule really hadn’t had much of a choice in terms of vocation. Unless they were raised on the farm, women basically had the choice of becoming a wife and possibly mother, or, if they desired to enter the work force, taking a job in one of the male-approved female jobs such as secretary or nursing. With the depletion of male work force into the service from 1941 to 1945, women all over the country got a taste of what it was like to work in a variety of jobs ranging from factory worker to professionals. As Tucker writes, women in the 40s were “commonly portrayed as performing her patriotic duty—taking a job so that a man could fight” (18). The symbol of the American woman’s liberation was Rosie the Riveter and Hollywood applauded the working woman throughout the films of the early 40s. The only problem is that once the men came home and got their jobs back, many women were not expressing the jubilation of going back home that was expected. Esther’s alienation in The Bell Jar and Holden’s somewhat paternalistic attitude toward women reflect the confusion and tumult ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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