Self In 1958 Essay

The 1950's were a time when conformity was popular, sameness was fashionable, and self-expression was discouraged. The new generation of cookie cutter Americans bought mass-produced clothing from catalogues and at chain department stores. New suburban houses looked nearly identical to each other. Kitchens were full of advertised all-electric appliances designed to ease the burden of American housewives' chores around the home. Television spread the image of an all-American family around the country faster than ever before, and viewers tried to copy the lives of the fictional families, often locking away thoughts and problems of their own to go along with the popular lack of individuality.

"Self in 1958" describes how "fake" people with plastered on smiles go through life showing no signs of hurt, anger, or any other feelings but happiness. Everything was commercialized in the 1950's. The American Dream became the obsession of carbon copy Ozzie-and-Harriett households. Meanwhile, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe were doped up on crack and prescription drugs, Rock Hudson - a major American sex symbol - was secretly a homosexual, Elizabeth Taylor was wrenching apart marriages, and the future President of the United States was entertaining a different girl almost every time he left the house.

Celebrities were the major role models of America, for they had achieved the American Dream, but were also the most corrupt and self-serving. If the American Dream was about money and happiness, then they had achieved half of it.

Basically, "Self in 1958" describes the commercialization, conformity, and insignificance of the individual in modern America. Thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the "average" American are overlooked, and people are often looked upon by higher members of society as toys with which they may promote themselves on the social ladder, with whose minds they can play with and mold to...


...Throughout history, there have been countless individuals who have excelled in the art of written literature, and in particular poetry, who have also suffered from a form of mental illness (Sussman).These individuals are examples of the link between creative episodes and mental illness, and two of the most identifiable examples are Sylvia Plath and AnneSexton. Both Plath and Sexton were troubled individuals who suffered from manic depression and bipolar disorder, and both ultimately gave in to their suicidal tendencies and took their own lives. The eerie similarities between the lives of AnneSexton and Sylvia Plath continued into their written works, producing two sets of confessional literature with common themes. Both Sylvia Plath and AnneSexton shared the common themes of death, mental illness, and despair in their written works including The Bell Jar, “Sylvia’s Death,” “Her Kind,” and “Lady Lazarus”. Sylvia Plath’s troubled life began on October 27, 1932 when she was born to Otto and Aurelia Plath in Boston, Massachusetts (Mondragon). Plath developed a talent for literature from a very young age, and published her first poem at eight years old. Also at age eight, Plath suffered the traumatic loss of her father (Mondragon). He died on the night of November 5, 1940, and when Plath learned of her father’s death she announced, “I’ll never speak to God again” (Mondragon)....

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