24 April 2013
The “Booms” of the 1950s
After the war during the 1950s many aspects of life started to “boom”. The booming economy, booming suburban life, and the “baby boom” all occurred. After World War II ended, people had positive attitudes about life and wanted to have many children and create the perfect family. People believed their lives would now be prosperous and filled with happiness. Unemployment was low and the middle-class had money to spend. In the beginning of the 1950s everything seemed to be booming but with the need of a purpose people struggled to be pleased with the lives they were living. Women left work and went back to being housewives, rarely leaving the home. In the book, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, by Sloan Wilson the story demonstrates an average family not satisfied by their well-off lives and constantly trying to conform to the next best thing since the economy was booming and technology was increasing. The Rath family consists of Tom, Betsy, and their three children. They live in a suburban town in Connecticut in an average, small house in the 1950s. They are constantly discontent and struggling with the pressures of conformity in the 50s. As soon as World War II ended, suburban life increased. Many soldiers returning from the war were given loans to buy their first home in the suburbs because it was more affordable then living in an apartment in the city. The war was over, life was happier, and people were employed. As their next step, people were looking to start a family. Since so many families were increasing, this resulted in the “baby boom”.
The story starts with describing the house the family lives in and everything they hate about it. “The hot-water faucet in the bathroom dripped. Almost all the furniture needed to be refinished, reupholstered, or cleaned. And besides that, the house was too small, ugly, and almost precisely like the houses on all sides of it” (Wilson 5).