The Dark Side of Conformism: A Critique of the 1950s Domesticity and Gender Ideology

Cabetas Burillo, Raquel
Loyo Gómez, Hilaria (dir.)

Universidad de Zaragoza, FFYL, 2014
Filología Inglesa y Alemana department, Filología Inglesa area

Graduado en Estudios Ingleses

Abstract: Abstract: This essay studies the gender and social relations in the American 1950s and their underlying tensions through the analysis of Sam Mendes’ film Revolutionary Road (2008), an adaptation of the eponymous Richard Yates’ novel published in 1961. A textual analysis shows how the film offers a critique of the conformism to the 1950s conservative gender and domesticity ideology best represented in U.S. suburbia. Like the original novel, the film demonstrates that Suburban America was not as idyllic as was presented to the world. The suburban home became a ‘golden cage’ for those couples who had difficulties in conforming to the strict gender roles and in maintaining specific social appearances. Conforming to traditional gender roles became politically important in the Cold War era when social consensus and ‘togetherness’ were believed to be necessary to prove the U.S. superiority over communist enemies. The results of those conservative measures were a great anxiety among men and women about fitting into those gender roles, and the exclusion and pathologization of those who deviated from the norm. In this film Mendes revisits the 1950s decade to denounce a similar conformism observed in the U.S. in the first decade of the twenty-first century after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Free keyword(s): revolutionary road ; yates ; mendes ; suburban america ; domesticity ; gender roles ; conformism
Tipo de Trabajo Académico: Trabajo Fin de Grado

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