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Unformatted text preview: When the Soviet Union set off its first nuclear explosion in 1949, it was clear that the cold war could turn hot and destroy civilization. A real fear permeated American culture. Even in remote areas, ordinary people built bomb shelters in their backyards. Schools took time to instruct students on the best way to react during a nuclear attack. Although the intent was benevolent, the most likely result was fear and confusion on the part of impressionable young minds. This increased gap between adult values and childhood innocence may have affected Salinger and certainly affected his audience. Whatever Holden's politics might have been, many readers related to his resentment of the insensitive, cruel, and phony elements of life. Culturally, society was moving toward conservatism but with important pockets of resistance. In 1949, the first nationally recognized, uniform suburban communities appeared, called Levittowns...
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