Unlike many other romance novels, Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place has aroused a plethora of academic debates ranging from the aggressive promotion of the author’s image to the themes contained within the actual narrative. Arguably the most interesting, yet elusive, theories on Peyton Place are centered on how the novel fits into the social fabric of postwar America. Many average readers, as well as literary experts, are prone to identify elements in Metalious’ novel which suggest that this cross-dressing housewife was out to subvert dominant 1950s ideology, while others will argue that the book can do nothing else but support the dominant patriarchal structure under which it was created. A closer look, however, reveals that both of these hypotheses may be true.
The avenues by which Metalious approaches the issues of single life, marriage and children, and sex shatter the dichotomy of subversiveness or perpetuation of dominant social values. Though Metalious seems to take a liberal stance in one area, she is largely conservative in another. Jane Hendler, in her article entitled “’Damned and Banned’: Female Sexuality in Grace Metalious’s Peyton Place,” writes that although “Peyton Place registered a growing discontent with middle-class conformity and restriction,” it still “perpetuated conservative attitudes and patriarchal structures” (187). The existence of dual ideological agendas in Peyton Place is not surprising when one considers the trends found in other printed materials of the 1950s. Joanne Meyerowitz, after pondering Friedan’s Feminine Mystique decided to do her own sampling of mass-circulation magazines from the postwar period. Contrary to Friedan’s conclusions, Meyerow...
... middle of paper ...
...fits in with the other ideologically conflicting printed materials of the time period. By vilifying single women alongside a positive young female character who declares she will never marry and by using this heroine to take a liberal stance on marriage and family while simultaneously showing sexuality in a conservative light, Metalious seamlessly plays the role of an ideological double agent.
Hendler, Jane. “’Damned and Banned’: Female Sexuality in Grace Metalious’s Peyton Place.” Best-Sellers and Their Film Adaptations in Postwar America.
Metalious, Grace. Peyton Place. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 1956.
Meyerowitz, Joanne. “Beyond the Feminine Mystique: A Reassessment of Postwar Mass Culture, 1946-1958.” Journal of American History 79.4 (1993): 1455-1482.
Radway, Janice. “Reading the Romance.” (1991).
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Marginality and Othering in Metalious’Peyton Place Metalious’ best known novel, Peyton Place, was a bestseller and a media phenomenon in the mid-1950s and 1960s, creating a stir because of its depictions of teenage sexuality, incest, and illegal abortion. Surprisingly, however, few close examinations of the novel’s content and style have been published by literary critics. This essay provides a discussion of a key concern in the novel: racial, ethnic, geographical, and sexual marginality.... [tags: Peyton Place Essays]
2721 words (7.8 pages)
- The mood of this poem is very soothing and is a sense of relaxation and security. Grace Nichols is showing that the island mans first home is the Caribbean. “the steady breaking and wombing.” The word “wombing” is a made up word by the writer. It has many associations but it makes us the readers imagine a place of comfort and security but more importantly a sense of home and belonging. The reason why this image is put in to the readers mind is because babies grow in the mothers’ womb, so we could say that the womb is everyone’s “first home”.... [tags: Grace Nichols, poetry, poems]
1815 words (5.2 pages)
- The path of true love has never run smoothly. These short stories, “The Lovers,” by Bessie Head, and “The Rain Came,” by Grace Ogot, were made noteworthy because of their tragedies. Each story reveals the misfortunes and predicaments associated with love. The stories expose that the path of true love is not smooth, and must never be smooth, if we are to fully appreciate what true love is. A core concept portrayed in both stories is the notion of different kinds of love. Passion between couples is the form more commonly thought of when referring to true love.... [tags: Love, tragedy, Grace Ogot,]
858 words (2.5 pages)
- Within the next few pages here I intend to address two issues. First I will try to give a personal review of what I saw this book to hold, and second I will try explain the revelence which this book has to the field of Public Administration. First try to picture children in a slum where the squalor in their homes is just as bad as that which is in the streets. Where prostitution is rampant, thievery a common place and murder and death a daily occurrence. Crack-cocaine and heroin are sold in corner markets, and the dead eyes of men and women wandering about aimlessly in the streets of Mott Haven are all to common., Their bodies riddled with disease, disease which seems to control the neighbor... [tags: Amazing Grace Essays]
1065 words (3 pages)
- Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace While reading Amazing Grace, one is unable to escape the seemingly endless tales of hardship and pain. The setting behind this gripping story is the South Bronx of New York City, with the main focus on the Mott Haven housing project and its surrounding neighborhood. Here black and Hispanic families try to cope with the disparity that surrounds them. Mott Haven is a place where children must place in the hallways of the building, because playing outside is to much of a risk.... [tags: Amazing Grace Essays Jonathan Kozol Papers]
1565 words (4.5 pages)
- Racial Barriers in Grace Paley's Short Story Samuel It is hard to distinguish the difference between which race is more important. One might ask themselves if white is superior over colored skin. There have been numerous struggles and much success in the fight towards equality between the races. Although many large steps have been made, there are still existing racial barriers. One particular struggle is whether or not people of different races should interact with each other. Should Caucasian adults interact with young children of color.... [tags: Grace Paley Papers]
820 words (2.3 pages)
- Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace Alias Grace is the most recent novel by Margaret Atwood, Canada’s most prominent modern novelist. The novel is, as Atwood writes in her afterword, ‘a work of fiction, although it is based on reality’(538) centred on the case of Victorian Canada’s most celebrated murderess, Grace Marks, an immigrant Irish servant girl. The manner in which Atwood imaginatively reconfigures historical fact in order to create a subversive text which ‘writes back’ to both the journals of a Canadian literary ancestor, and to Canada’s nineteenth century self -image, illustrates what critic Linda Hutcheon has called ‘the use of irony as a powerful subversive rule in the rethinking and... [tags: Margaret Atwood Alias Grace Essays]
1661 words (4.7 pages)
- Amazing Grace As part of the summer reading assignment this year, I read the book Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol. In this documentary-style book, he told about the horrible yet completely realistic conditions of the most poor, rundown neighborhoods and districts in New York City. Kozol wrote the book for the purpose of telling the stories of the children who lived in these parts of the city. He dedicated his work to those children and it was his goal to inform readers that slums were in fact in existence and the children who resided there did not deserve to live in such a poverty-stricken area. The question "Why should their childhood be different from others across t... [tags: Amazing Grace Essays]
809 words (2.3 pages)
- Alias Grace Based on a notorious double murder in Canada in the1840's, the novel Alias Grace tells the story of a pretty 16 year-old servant girl who conspired with a ranch hand to kill their employer and his mistress and escape with their belongings. They were captured in several days, and later, in a much-publicized trial, found guilty of premeditated murder. The young man, James McDermott, was sentenced to death, and the girl, Grace Marks, narrowly escaped it. Alias Grace begins after the murderess has served 8 years in prison. The death of Nancy Montgomery, Kinnear's housekeeper and mistress, has been disregarded as both villains had already been sentenced to de... [tags: Alias Grace]
1332 words (3.8 pages)
- Defining Grace The Dictionary of the Accademia della Crusca, dating from 16th century Italy, defines grace as "belleza... che rapisce altrui ad amore." Grace is beauty which seduces one unto love. Grace is the prayer before nourishment, it is the passing of power through blood, it is a classical muse, it is a verb, it is liberation, it is a head-ransom, it is a gazelle, it is simplicity, it is complexity, it is sanctifying, it is controversial, it is desired, it is metrical, it is ubiquitous, it is rare, it is actual.... [tags: Definition Grace Essays]
3600 words (10.3 pages)