Week 10 journal

In chapter three Making the American Consensus Erenberg and Hirsch write about the impact of films and their influence on the American consciousness during World War II. In both my interviews I asked my interviewees about their movie-going experiences. Both of them remembered going to the movies. One remembered going to see Gone with the Wind and the other remembered seeing The White Cliffs of Dover, which is mentioned on page 85. My narrator said that The White Cliffs of Dover had the greatest impact on her. She remembered her and her friend bawling in the theater until someone reminded them it was only a movie. After reading chapter three it was interesting to compare my narrator’s movie experiences with the intent of the movie makers behind the films. It seemed that the White Cliffs of Dover had the impact it was looking to have on my narrator because she connected with the story and the sentiment behind it.

In chapter five Rosie the Riveter Gets Married Erenberg and Hirsch debunk much of the idea that World War II was a great opportunity for women’s mobility between different roles and levels in society. Yes, women were able to enter jobs that were previously unavailable to them, but there were not nearly as many jobs or opportunities for women as made to believe or that they were treated fairly because they were the only ones available to fill the positions.  Women’s roles were still defined, jobs being divided between women’s jobs and men’s jobs. Women were reminded that after the war they were to return to their traditional roles as housewife and that although they got along fine without men during the war, after the war men were to step back in to their jobs that had been filled by women during the war. Single women were considered a threat to the traditional family values supposedly in place before the war. What I have seen in these chapters is the government’s perception of America and American culture and their attempts to enforce those perceptions of Americana and remind Americans what a good American is in order to help promote their own agendas.


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