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 scholar Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. those feelings enabled a few middle-class whites to chop freed from their very own histories and determine with those that, whereas missing financial, political, or social privilege, looked as if it would own as an alternative very important cultural assets and a intensity of feeling now not present in "grey flannel" the USA.
In this wide-ranging and vividly written cultural heritage, Grace Elizabeth Hale sheds gentle on why such a lot of white middle-class american citizens selected to re-imagine themselves as outsiders within the moment 1/2 the 20th century and explains how this unheard of 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 during the eighties, it flourished within the hippie counterculture, the back-to-the-land circulation, the Jesus humans circulation, and between fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christians operating to place their conventional isolation and separatism as strengths. It replaced the very that 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 will for a morally significant and genuine existence.
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Extra resources for A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America
It is a feeling. For Holden, self-expression is enough, and self-expression, the democratization of the modern idea of what it means to be an artist, is the flip side of the problem of mass culture. Sure, mass culture’s ever-present images and stories haunt people’s imaginations, coloring how they act and feel and experience even their own lives. But people in turn get to craft their own stories. 43 None of this magic works, however, without an audience. The connection is through the telling, not the living.
Politics are nonexistent. 38 They do, however, kill themselves to make a point about the irrationality of the universe. Salinger wrote Catcher over a ten-year period in which existentialism emerged as one of the most important trends in postwar thought. The philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre published Existentialism and Human Emotions, an adaptation of his wildly popular 1945 Paris lecture, in English in 1946. 30 Learning to Love Outsiders For Sartre, there was no essential human essence, no universal characteristics of humanity that preceded human existence.
The hotel 20 Learning to Love Outsiders bellboy Maurice, pimping the young prostitute named Sunny that Holden hires, smacks him when he refuses to pay a jacked-up rate. In Central Park at night, a place he knows “like the back of my hand,” Holden gets lost in the spooky dark looking for the duck pond. 14 Visiting the best teacher he ever had, “old Antolini,” at a very “swanky apartment” on Sutton Place, Holden seems poised at last to find some meaning. Antolini cautions him against his romantic fatalism, against “dying nobly” for an unworthy cause.
A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America by Grace Elizabeth Hale