Demands placed on many young Americans as a result of the Cold War give rise to an increasingly age-segregated society. This separation allowed adolescents and young adults to begin to formulate an identity distinct from previous generations, and was a significant factor in their widespread rejection of contemporary American society.
This study traces the emergence of a distinctive post-war family dynamic between parent and adolescent or already adult child. In-depth readings of individual writers such as, Arthur Miller, William Styron, J. D. Salinger, Tennessee Williams, Vladimir Nabokov, Jack Kerouac, Flannery O’Connor and Sylvia Plath, situate their work in relation to the Cold War and suggest how the figuring of adolescents and young people reflected and contributed to an empowerment of American youth. This book is a superb research tool for any student or academic with an interest in youth culture, cultural studies, American studies, cold war studies, twentieth-century American literature, history of the family, and age studies.
Introduction—"An Unprecedented Recession from Adult Life" Chapter 1. "Don’t Step on my Blue Suede Shoes"—Empire, Deterrence and the Origins of Dissent in Cold War America Chapter 2. Generational Politics, Fifties Freud and "the Fragmentation of the Oedipus" Chapter 3. The Parent-Apparent: The Post-Freudians, ‘De-Parentification,’ and the Cold War Family Paradigm Chapter 4. Generation on Trial: Arthur Miller’s Theater of Judgment Chapter 5. Trauma, Mourning and Self-(Re)fashioning: J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and the Reinvention of Youth in Cold War America Chapter 6. "Racing with the Moon": Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the All-American Girl in Styron’s Lie Down in Darkness Chapter 7. The End of Adulthood: Nabokov’s Lolita Chapter 8. Jack Kerouac: ‘"Oedipus Eddy" and "the Story of America" Chapter 9. Death’s Child: Lost Fathers, Bereaved Daughters, and the Rise of Postwar Feminism—Re-reading Sylvia Plath Chapter 10. The Comforts of Home: Generational Dialectics in Flannery O’Connor’s Fiction Conclusion: The Cold War, Vietnam, the Sixties and After