Life During the 1950s in America Essays

Life During the 1950s in America Essays

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The 1950s seemed like a perfect decade. The rise of suburbs outside cities led to an expansion of the middle class, thus allowing more Americans to enjoy the luxuries of life. The rise of these suburbs also allowed the middle class to buy houses with land that used to only be owned by more wealthy inhabitants. Towns like Levittown-one of the first suburbs- were divided in such a way that every house looked the same (“Family Structures”). Any imperfections were looked upon as unfavorable to the community as a whole. Due to these values, people today think of the 1950s as a clean cut and model decade. This is a simplistic perception because underneath the surface, events that took place outside the United States actually had a direct effect on our own country’s history. The rise of Communism in Russia struck fear into the hearts of the American people because it seemed to challenge their supposedly superior way of life.
In the novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey argued that this presumed model society was actually quite the opposite. Kesey argued this through the use of the characters in the novel. Nurse Ratched was a character who symbolized the communist rule in Russia, and she displayed absolute power over the patients in the ward. She was depicted as what was wrong with society, and the patients feared her as the Americans feared communists. Randle McMurphy retaliated against Nurse Ratched in order to challenge her control, just as the Americans fought against Communism in the Cold War. Although it seemed as though there were some positive aspects of domestic life in the 1950s, Ken Kesey argued that American society at the time was tainted due to the roles of fear, the rejection of those who were different, and t...


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