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Goodwin Analysis

1024 words - 5 pages

The fifties era was an era of consensus and order. As a family, there was a certain image to live up to in order fit into the American dream; however, a family only had to appear American and while it may be argued that Doris Goodwin succeeded in life because she grew up in a typical household in the fifties, that is not the case, and in fact, Goodwin’s life in the fifties did not live up to the stereotypical idea of the fifties time period. The image of being American during the fifties was based on consensus which was seen through the typical American neighborhood. All families were religious, the dads went to work while the moms stayed home and the children were at school, and each family ...view middle of the document...

After discussion with Michael Kearns, Goodwin’s father, it was decided that it would be ok for the family to attend. In spite of the religious consensus of the fifties, families could still remain different from the others through diverse religious beliefs. (Anderson Class notes, “Book Discussion” 8 April 2014; Goodwin pp.s 93-95)
In order for the standard American family to live up to the consensus of the fifties, families had to live a certain daily and home life. Usually, a family’s workings were similar in that the dad would be gone to work during the day while the mother stayed home and the kids were at school. The dads were thought of as the breadwinners, while the mothers were the home maker and also the hostess for events at the house; however, while Goodwin’s family appeared to live up to the image of the typical fifties family, the family did not meet the standards set forth in the fifties era. While Michael Kearns went to work at home during the day, Helen, Goodwin’s mother, struggled to appear normal like the other mothers in the neighborhood because of her health problems. When television came to the neighborhood, each television was bigger than the last, and when the Kearns’ household received their television, they hosted a small party like the other families. During the party, Doris performed most of the hostess activities, but Mrs. Kearns did not. While Doris doing most of the work wasn’t unusual in the household, it was different than others in the neighborhood. Typically, the mothers always performed the hostess type activities. Helen Kearns was still trying to give Doris a normal life by letting friends come over, but because of Mrs. Kearns illnesses the weight that a mother usually carried fell on the shoulders of Doris or one of Doris’ two sisters. (Anderson Class notes “Book Discussion” 8 April 2014;Goodwin pp. s 121-122)
Finally, in order to be a true American...

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