Comparison Between the Roaring Twenties and the Lost Beautifulness

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Comparison Between the Roaring Twenties and the Lost Beautifulness

By | October 2008
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When one talks about the 1920’s, which is known to be the Jazz Age, excess, corruption, and the American Dream are just a few topics which are relevant to this time period. Two examples would be Anzia Yezierska’s short story “The Lost ‘Beautifulness’”, and Raoul Walsh’s movie The Roaring Twenties, in which both works demonstrate how the American Dream leads to disillusionment. The short story is about a poor Russian family that immigrates to America. The son is gone to war in France, and both parents have to work hard to earn their money. Hanneh’s job is to wash linens for a rich woman named Mrs. Preston. In comparison, Walsh’s movie is about a soldier named Eddie Bartlett, who, after losing his job having come back from war, gets involved in the bootlegging business in order to achieve the American Dream.

First off, the short story and the movie both reveal the disillusionment of achieving the American Dream through material possessions. For instance, Hanneh’s dream is to have a white kitchen that looks like her rich employer’s, Mrs. Preston. Therefore, the poor lady spends all her money (which she spent a long time saving), to buy the necessary paint to redo her kitchen. Hanneh says that “[w]hen I see myself around the house how I fixed it up with my own hands, I forget I’m only a nobody. It makes me feel I’m also a person like Mrs. Preston. It lifts me with high thoughts” (“The Lost ‘Beautifulness’”113). She makes her landlord’s apartment look like it’s a rich house,

but in reality, she still belongs to the lower class people and she is still struggling, living in poverty. Moreover, in The Roaring Twenties, Eddie Bartlett becomes a bootlegger, and his main concern is to make as much money as possible by manufacturing illegal bottles of alcohol. He believes that by doing so, he will be able to achieve the American Dream. Eddie also believes that he can win over his sweet heart Jean by buying her all sorts of material things. He spoils her with...

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