Rebel Without A Cause

Rebel Without A Cause - Clark 1 ENG 101 Rieder...

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Clark 1 ENG 101 Rieder 12-September-2006 Rebel Without A Cause: The Masculinity Crisis in America Set in the early 1950s, Rebel Without A Cause paints an elaborate portrait of the issues associated with America’s move to the suburbs. Jon Mitchell’s article, “Jim Stark’s ‘Barbaric Yawp,’” and Jon Lewis’ article, “Growing Up Male in Jim’s Mom’s World”, discuss in detail the symbolism and topics which are brought up in Rebel Without A Cause. An important theme, which both Mitchell and Lewis discuss, is the “crisis of masculinity.” Jon Mitchell highlights suburbia as the main cause for this decline in masculinity, while Jon Lewis seems to believe that the filmmakers intended to fault the American woman along with suburbia for this “crisis.” By reviewing these texts, I have found that Jon Mitchell’s is the stronger of the two articles for its use of evidence to support his allegations. Mitchell provides the reader with historical details of the film’s 1950s setting, along with numerous citations from many other authors and texts. His thoroughness allows us, as readers, better insight into what life was like during the filming of Rebel Without A Cause . The eruption of suburban neighborhoods distinguished the 1950s and brought about a new age in America (Mitchell 131). Millions of Americans made the move to suburbia after World War II, where a “cult of togetherness” developed. In suburbia, Americans found an idyllic setting for families, a place where children could grow up in peaceful communities and parents could enjoy all the comforts of the modern post-war
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Clark 2 world. Yet underneath it all there remained a “restless dissatisfaction” among men, a feeling that “something is not there that should be- something [they] once had.” Men began to feel that they had somehow lost their masculinity in this move to the suburbs. According to Mitchell, alcoholism and tranquilizer usage rose drastically as the American male struggled with this new life (132). It was during this time that Rebel Without A Cause was filmed “as a microcosm that reflects the larger significance of the 1950’s white masculine culture (Mitchell 134).” Mitchell’s article gives us a detailed historical background for Rebel Without A Cause in his very first paragraph. This information provides us with knowledge that better prepares us to appreciate the meanings and symbolism in Rebel Without A Cause . He goes on to discuss several articles which were published during this time period.
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Cornett during the Fall '08 term at N.C. State.

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Rebel Without A Cause - Clark 1 ENG 101 Rieder...

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