A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in by Grace Elizabeth Hale

By Grace Elizabeth Hale

At mid-century, american citizens more and more fell in love with characters like Holden Caulfield in Catcher within the Rye and Marlon Brando's Johnny in The Wild One, musicians like Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan, and activists just like the contributors of the coed Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. those feelings enabled a few middle-class whites to chop freed from their very own histories and establish with those that, whereas missing financial, political, or social privilege, looked as if it would own in its place very important cultural assets and a intensity of feeling no longer present in "grey flannel" the United States.

In this wide-ranging and vividly written cultural background, Grace Elizabeth Hale sheds mild on why such a lot of white middle-class americans selected to re-imagine themselves as outsiders within the moment 1/2 the 20th century and explains how this unparalleled shift replaced American tradition and society. Love for outsiders introduced the politics of either the recent Left and the hot correct. From the mid-sixties throughout the eighties, it flourished within the hippie counterculture, the back-to-the-land circulate, the Jesus humans circulation, and between fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christians operating to place their conventional isolation and separatism as strengths. It replaced the very which means of "authenticity" and "community."

Ultimately, the romance of the outsider supplied an inventive answer to an intractable mid-century cultural and political conflict-the fight among the will for self-determination and autonomy and the need for a morally significant and actual lifestyles.

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Extra resources for A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America

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But he couldn’t write any movies in my cabin, only stories and books. I’d have this rule that nobody could do anything phony when they visited me. If anybody tried to do anything phony, they couldn’t stay. The problem, of course, is that the scene itself is false, a movie melodrama that Holden will never live. He has already sneaked into his home like a thief. He does not recount his actual homecoming in that “madman” time. Yet he must have ended up at his parents’ apartment, sometime after watching Phoebe in all her radiant innocence going around and around on the carousel.

11 Holden, narrating his story of “madman stuff that happened to me,” first uses the word “phony” on page 3. ” Stopping the scene, Holden says to his readers: “There’s a word I really hate. It’s a phony. ” Holden tells Mr.  . ” Holden tells his audience in another aside that he was almost in a movie once, “but I changed my mind at the last minute. ” “People always clap for the wrong things,” Holden snaps. ”12 To Holden, his classmates, teachers, advisors, parents, and his brother D. , who has given up his short stories to write for the movies, are all phonies.

José Ortega y Gasset, a Spanish philosopher and supporter of the Spanish Republic, published his Revolt of the Masses in 1930, but his ideas did not have much impact on American thinkers until after the war. ” “The mass crushes beneath it everything that is different, everything that is excellent, individual, qualified and select,” he argued. ” For Ortega y Gasset, this conforming collective destroyed the very possibility of individualism. In the late 1930s and 1940s, the then leftist critics Macdonald and Greenberg began using the German term for rubbish or muck, “kitsch,” to refer to cultural products embraced by large numbers of people.

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