America's Sweetheart: Shirley Temple Essay

America's Sweetheart: Shirley Temple Essay

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In the 1930s, several economic, political, and environmental factors caused Americans to lose hope of a future beyond the extreme circumstances in which they had to survive. America prospered during the roaring ‘20s, but the stock market crash of October 1929 set off a devastating chain of events; banks and factories closed and one out of every four Americans found himself unemployed. The sudden economic collapse began the era of the Great Depression, in which millions were jobless by 1933 and countless others wandered the country in search of work, food and shelter. “The core of the problem was the immense disparity between the country’s productive capacity and the ability of the people to consume” (Nelson). The economic downturn coupled with the ecological disaster of the Dust Bowl in the Great Plains resulted in foreclosures on farms, inflated food prices for the consumer, and the ruination of the agricultural industry. Meanwhile, the film and entertainment industry provided an escape for many Americans from the long-term struggle of the Great Depression. Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star dubbed “America’s Sweetheart,” was one such film star who brought hope to those affected by the Great Depression and left an enduring impression on the United States of America.
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Before and during her rapid rise to Hollywood stardom, Temple’s family played an important role in her childhood. Born in Santa Monica, California on April 23, 1928, Temple was welcomed into the world by her parents and two older brothers. Mr. George Temple worked as banker while Mrs. Gertrude Temple devoted her time to nurturing her baby girl, since her two older sons, George Jr. and John, were already independent teenagers (Dubas 7-8). ...


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Dubas, Rita. Shirley Temple: A Pictorial History of the World’s Greatest Child Star. New York: Applause Theater and Cinema Books, 2006. Print.
Lundstrom, Mack. "America's Sweetheart." San Jose Mercury News 11 Feb. 2014. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 19 March 2014. .
Nelson, Cary. “The Depression in the United States – An Overview.” Modern American Poetry. Department of English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013. Web. 12 March 2014. .
“Shirley Temple Black.” The Kennedy Center. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2014. Web. 12 March 2014. .
Sonneborn, Liz. “Temple, Shirley.” A to Z of American Women in the Performing Arts 2014. Facts on File. Web. 19 March 2014. .

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