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Delinquency: It Comes from Within (Rebel without a Cause Juxtaposed with Cycle of Outrage)

By Matt Walsh, VI Form

 

Delinquency: It Comes from Within (Rebel without a Cause Juxtaposed with Cycle of Outrage)

Although its production was fraught with promiscuity, Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause promotes a moralistic Cold War agenda. Protagonist Jim Stark, portrayed by James Dean, is a new kid in town with a history of delinquency. Because his parents struggle to exert authority over Jim and are quick to forgive him for his wrongdoing, Jim, albeit well-intentioned, finds himself associated with a group of delinquents. Included in the group is Judy, a sixteen-year-old girl whose misbehavior is driven by her father’s reluctance to reciprocate her love for him. Jim also develops a friendship with Plato, whose absent parents make him the most delinquent of the three protagonists. Rebel Without a Cause blames their misbehavior on their lack of emotional connection with their respective parents, and likewise, James Gilbert’s 1986 book A Cycle of Outrage suggests that many Americans viewed a stable domestic setting as the panacea for all forms of juvenile delinquency. Nonetheless, the film Rebel Without a Cause suggests that only emotional connections between children and parents can curb the epidemic of juvenile delinquency whereas A Cycle of Outrage suggests that the public viewed delinquency as an epidemic that originated outside of the family. (more…)

A Tale of Three Species: The Man, the Woman, and the Communist in ‘Some Like It Hot’

By Lulu Eastman, VI Form

 

A Tale of Three Species: The Man, the Woman, and the Communist in ‘Some Like It Hot’

The 1950s were a time of deep cultural turmoil in the United States. In the era of the Cold War and the Red Scare, an environment of tension and confusion emerged due to uncertainty in the home and society as a whole. The Cold War era, clouded by an intense and deeply ingrained fear of communism, had Americans desperately seeking a standard of comfort or normalcy to turn to, and they found it in gender roles. Unease cornered women into their positions as housewives, and men were solidified as the family providers. Some Like It Hot, a 1959 film, was released amid a time of tension in American society, when gender roles and family life were strongly influenced by a Cold War-induced climate of fear and conformity. (more…)

The President Who Made Apollo: John F. Kennedy and The U.S. Soviet Moon Race, From His Speeches, Letters, and Memos

Mo Liu, VI Form

 

The President Who Made Apollo: John F. Kennedy and The U.S. Soviet Moon Race, From His Speeches, Letters, and Memos

Editors’ Note:  Mo Liu conducted her History Fellowship research on J.F. Kennedy and his decision to go to the Moon. Below is the introduction and you can click here for the full paper:

Introduction

Soviets, Space, and Sputnik

As the gunpowder smoke of the Second World War slowly faded away, the United States and the Soviet Union were the only two superpowers remaining, and the formal allies soon turned into bitter rivals.[1]The United States believed it stood supreme in ideals, leadership, and influence, while the Soviet Union was determined to contest that claim and “by any means necessary” secure its position at the top.[2]Given the intense differences between their ideologies, cultures, and government structures, conflicts were inevitable. The Cold War, the longest war in modern history, began quietly without a shot of cannon.

Towards the end of WWII, the United States and the Soviet Union were competing for German rocketry technology as well as scientists working on the rocket development project. Rockets received attention primarily due to their potential as a military weapon; the sole function of rockets was thought to be as carriers of atomic warheads. The United States and the Soviet Union’s desperation to gain the secrets to German rocketry was, therefore, a result of their desire to strengthen each nation’s military arsenal. The rocketry competition rose to new heights on October 4, 1957, when the Soviets launched the first satellite into orbit.[3]The Soviet Union accomplished this great feat without making any previous announcement, so, when amateur space enthusiasts in the United States picked up Sputnik’s radio signals as it flew across the American sky, the entire nation reacted with amazement and disbelief. In an open letter to The New York Herald Tribune, economist Bernard Baruch described America’s reaction to Sputnik: “Suddenly, rudely, we are awakened to the fact that the Russians have outdistanced us in a race which we thought we were winning. It is Russia, not the United States, who has had the imagination to hitch its wagon to the stars and the skill to reach for the Moon and all but grasp it.”[4]The space race, as people would later call it, had officially begun. (more…)

Blade Runner: A Bipolar Fantasy

By Mo Liu, VI Form

Blade Runner: A Bipolar Fantasy

Introduction

Blade-Runner-LB-685x1024When Ridley Scott released his original Blade Runner in June 1982, the United States had just arrived at another peak of tension with the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan had recently become President, and he denounced the policy of detente that previously dominated the U.S. foreign relations approach and wanted to re-establish the United States’ fierce international appearance. Reagan devised an ambitious plan to actively contain communism that historians would later refer to as “Reagan’s Second Cold War,” in which he called for an overt attempt to destruct the Soviet Union. After a short time-out, Americans once again found themselves in the war of tug with the Soviets, watching out for Soviet spies and waiting for the siren to alarm them of an approaching nuclear warhead. (more…)

Analysis of Rebel Without a Cause and the Cold War

By Rory Colburn, VI Form

Analysis of Rebel Without a Cause and the Cold War

The 1950’s was an era of extremism marked by xenophobia, misogyny, and ageism. The population was warped and manipulated by yellow journalism and a few outspoken individuals, who urged America towards conformity. These stories and people preached the external dangers of foreign influence, especially concerning Communism, and the internal dangers, concerning teenage rebellion, and subversive women. This ideology was captured by Hollywood in the film Rebel Without a Cause, which features scenes, characters, and compositions that address these concerns, sometimes using metaphor or allegory. (more…)

American Exceptionalism and The Hunt for Red October

By Conor Brockway, VI Form

American Exceptionalism and The Hunt for Red October

imagesThe Cold War was a time period when America and Russia were threatening to attack each other, as both countries wanted to become the most powerful nation in the world. Tensions were heightened within America during the latter part of the Cold War, specifically during the early to mid 1980’s. American Exceptionalism became prevalent in the world, as the Americans were seen as having freedom and power within their country[1]. Also, the concept that Communism was a “virus” and could “infect” Americans and that Communists were a threat to national security within the U.S, as Communists were primitive, sneaky, subversive, and dangerous still lingered in the thoughts of Americans[2]. After World War II (WWII), the U.S. had the blueprint to build an
atomic weapon, which was a powerful weapon no other nation had. The U.S. also started building (more…)