Feeding the American Title




Zhang, Ada

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This thesis looks at the social, cultural, economic, and political factors in 1950s America that made women embrace the home and the kitchen with arms wide open. Aside from only examining the historical landscape of this particular decade, this paper also analyzes the ways in which 1950s domestic literature shaped female identity. I argue that the strategy of 1950s domestic literature was to wield the power of the American narrative—weaving its various elements into cookbook introductions, cake mix boxes, canned food labels, televised commercials—in order to subordinate women to the home. Through domestic literature, the kitchen was re-envisioned as not a place of confinement where cooking was mandatory, but rather as a place of freedom where cooking was both a privilege and an opportunity. The kitchen became, in the woman's psyche, a place where the American narrative was realized, and as long as she stayed within the domestic sphere, she was able to experience such things as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.



Feminism. Women's Studies. Food Studies. Cold War. Domesticity. American Narrative.