"I Am Waiting"...For America to Change
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The paper shows how Lawrence Ferlinghetti's piece "I Am Waiting" reflects the shifting tone of American thought as the 1950s drew to an end. The paper provides the historical background of this decade, which included the Cold War, the arms race and the Red Menace. The paper illustrates how Ferlinghetti uses a self-assured blend of idealism and hope, set against a backdrop of defiance and pessimism, to bring various social problems out of the American woodwork. The writer of this paper is of the opinion that "I Am Waiting" successfully communicates the tone of this time period.
From the Paper:"The decade of the 1950s was a complex time in American history. It is an era most often characterized by paranoia, witch-hunts, complacency, and social conservatism (O'Neill 14). The emphasis on traditional values and staunch morality clashed with the severe oppression that was intentionally ignored by the powerful and privileged status quo. On the surface, America in the '50s was a place of domesticity, confidence, and willful ignorance (O'Neill 13), but this idyllic society was threatened by an undercurrent of mistrust and growing tension. Between the Cold War, the arms race, and the Red Menace, Americans were increasingly afraid of each other and the world around them, and this climate of fear created an atmosphere where conformity was one's unspoken patriotic duty. Yet there are always those who are willing to confront grim realities and voice unpopular beliefs, and nearing the end of the decade, the hypocrisy and irrationality of American culture and government was becoming increasingly unacceptable to its people (Douglas and Nowak 62)."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Bottome, Edgar M. The Balance of Terror: A Guide to the Arms Race. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971.
- Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. "I Am Waiting." The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. 2352-56.
- Kaledin, Eugenia. Daily Life in the United States, 1940-1959: Shifting Worlds. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2000.
- Miller, Douglas T. and Marion Nowak. The Fifties: The Way We Really Were. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1977.
- O'Neill, William L. "Introduction." American Society Since 1945. Ed. William L. O'Neill. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1969. 3-29.
Cite this Poem Review:
"I Am Waiting"...For America to Change (2010, March 28) Retrieved May 10, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/poem-review/i-am-waiting-for-america-to-change-119048/
""I Am Waiting"...For America to Change" 28 March 2010. Web. 10 May. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/poem-review/i-am-waiting-for-america-to-change-119048/>