By Grace Elizabeth Hale
At mid-century, americans 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 individuals 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 fiscal, political, or social privilege, appeared to own in its place important cultural assets and a intensity of feeling no longer present in "grey flannel" the USA.
In this wide-ranging and vividly written cultural background, Grace Elizabeth Hale sheds mild on why such a lot of white middle-class american citizens selected to re-imagine themselves as outsiders within the moment half the 20th century and explains how this exceptional shift replaced American tradition and society. Love for outsiders introduced the politics of either the recent Left and the recent correct. From the mid-sixties during 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 solution 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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Additional info for A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America
The trouble is, you wouldn’t. In the movie-saturated world of mid-twentieth-century America, Holden suggests, self-consciousness and reflexivity abound. When people are able to imagine watching themselves like characters on a screen, to be both inside and outside themselves simultaneously, how can they separate pure guiding purpose from reaction and effect? 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.
Holden even contradicts himself here. Truths that are all true are exactly what he is looking for, truths that, unlike the adults he encounters, stand firm. 16 With no one to guide him, Holden refuses to grow up and remains a mass of contradictions. Getting kicked out of school means he never has to graduate. Being a virgin means he never has to think about his interactions with women like Sally, that girl Jane Gallagher that he really liked who keeps her Lost Children of Plenty 21 kings in the back row when she plays checkers, or anyone else in more complicated terms.
The connections Holden makes here occur outside the flow of his fictional life, at a remove, as he is representing it. 44 Lost Children of Plenty 33 If, as Holden believes, modern life alienates all sensitive, feeling people, then the answer, the only way to live, is to love other outsiders. Holden is lost. He never quite manages to find and connect with any other rebels, despite his New York City wanderings. But he finds them in his readers. And Catcher casts childhood as the space of innocence, free of the compromises and failures of adult life, as a place available to us all.
A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America by Grace Elizabeth Hale