The 1960’s: A Decade of Hope, Energy, and Prosperity

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The 1960’s: A Decade of Hope, Energy, and Prosperity The 1960’s was a decade full of changes and advancements. Events from the 1950’s greatly influenced those of the sixties. The existentialism movement in the fifties led to the evolution of the hippie culture. Not only was this decade full of positive changes and advancements, but the nation dealt with many heated movements as well. Debates as well as intense wars caused times of turbulence. The Vietnam War was fought between America and Vietnam. Many American men were drafted for the war with no choice. One such draftee was a man named Tim O’Brien who, because of the war, became a writer. Tim O’Brien, an author and a Vietnam War veteran, pinpoints the major aspects of the decade in his writing. Tim O’Brien’s short story, “The Things They Carried”, published in 1990, uses symbolism and recurring motifs and themes that fully embody the great turbulence of the decade, and act to connect his work with the Vietnam War. “The sixties were a time of momentous social movements, sweeping legislation, remarkable space achievements, silly clothing, weird hair, riots, assassinations, and a war that nearly tore America apart” (Wright 19). Advances in radio astronomy led to new knowledge about planets within the solar system and the stars beyond. In the late 1950’s, the Soviet Union shocked the United States by being the first nation to a place a satellite in space (Hipp). Both nations wanted to be the first to put a man on the moon to prove their scientific superiority and show their military strength. The nations’ competition led up to the Americans walking on the moon in 1969 (“Space” 1). Many important breakthroughs in science and technology of the sixties were develop... ... middle of paper ... ...nd Robbins, Sarah. The Things They Carried. Spark Publishing. New York, 2003. <> Smith, A. Patrick. Tim O’Brien: A Critical Companion. Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2005. “The Space Race”. Newseum: From the Earth to the Moon. Stories of the Century. 9 March 2010. “The Things They Carried.” Short Story Criticism. Ed. Joseph Palmisano. Vol. 74. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 9 March 2010. “William Timothy O’Brien.” Contemporary Literary Criticism Select. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 March 2010. Willoughby, Douglas. The Vietnam War. 20th Century Perspectives. Chicago: Heinemann Library. 2001. Wright, Mike. What They Didn’t Teach You About the 60’s. Presidio Press, inc. Novato: 2001.

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