The 1950’s were a restless time. People were moving in the U. S from the cities to the suburbs, entertainment was becoming more and more popular, civil rights and arts movements were growing, and science and technology was becoming more advanced. One of the many books and movies that help to depict the social continuity of the decade was the movie “The Sandlot”. “The Sandlot”, though also a very enjoyable and funny movie, showed many of these aspects of the 1950’s.
From suburbia to sexism, the movie helps you to see what life was like back in ‘50s.
The first concept of social life in the 1950’s is suburbia. There was a great migration of people from the cities to the suburbs during the ‘50s. There were many reasons people thought that living in the suburbs was better than the frantic life style of the city. One of them was that it had become easier to travel to and from places with invention and advancement of the automobile.
One of the other larger reasons was because of the increasing racial and immigration tensions in the city, many white people who wanted to escape it moved to the suburbs. This was known as the White Flight.
The suburbs were also seen as a great place to raise a family since it was calm and peaceful. Since the homes were cheap and east to get, it seemed like a miracle for people needing a house because of the postwar housing situation, which made it hard to find homes anywhere. Ads on TV showed the suburbs as being a kind of paradise. In the movie “The Sandlot”, Smalls had just recently moved to the suburbs. In the movie, it depicts the suburbs as a family friendly place to live with fun activities and events. There was a block party on the 4th of July accompanied by fireworks.
And the community pool that everyone could go to in the summer for a fun time. “The Sandlot” and the actual 1950’s suburbia seem to fit with each other perfectly. Conformity was also a large part of the 1950’s. It became a normal, everyday part of American life. The politics in the ‘50s were affected by conformity because the leaders and government officials conformed to the public opinion about issues such as communism and McCarthyism. They didn’t want to be seen as supporters of communism, so they would do anything not to be seen as one, including not confronting McCarthy and waging war against foreign communist powers.
Another aspect that was affected by conformity was the idea of the perfect American life style, which included living in the suburbs, owning a brand new car, and having a television set. People didn’t want to be different because that would put them in the spotlight and get them noticed, possibly causing them to get blacklisted by anti-communist groups. Another good example of conformity is TV and one of the popular shows “I Love Lucy”. It showed that the ideal family was a dad that worked and a mom that stayed at home caring for the kids. An example of conformity in “The Sandlot” was baseball.
Baseball was the norm for kids the same age as Smalls and since he didn’t want to spend the rest of summer without any friends, he conformed and started to play it with all the other kids. He didn’t want to be known as the kid with no friends and he didn’t want to stand out in that way. Also how he knew that he was bad at playing baseball but he still wanted to learn how to play so he could play with everyone else. One of the largest concepts of the 1950’s was sexism and the roles of genders. Women had always been seen as the ones who should stay at home and care for the kids.
And for a long time that’s how it was. Even though women had begun to branch out and get jobs outside the home, they were never in large numbers or they were a part of the lower class and minorities. The first time women really started to branch out was WWII. When the men when off to fight in the war, women were the only other group of people who could help to build all the weapons and planes and ammunition that the men would need. Without the women working in the factories and making all the equipment the men needed it would have been very hard for us to win WWII.
Even though women showed that they could work and be as productive as men, there were still people who believed that the women’s place or role was in the house. Going back to “The Sandlot”, sexism is portrayed in the movie as well. With one of its most memorable quotes, “You play ball like a girl! ” helps to show how girls were shown as not being able to play baseball or sports in general. The idea of women staying at home also went along with the suburbia and conformity aspects of the 1950’s. The last concept is de facto segregation.
This was basically segregation that wasn’t officially segregation by law. Expecting African Americans to sit in the back of the bus is an example of de facto segregation. Another example is separate facilities for each race. The opposite of de facto segregation is de jure segregation, where a separate school for African Americans is provided and they were usually older and had fewer resources than the white schools. In “The Sandlot” you saw an example of de facto segregation in how out of the group of kids that play baseball at the andlot, there is only one African American kid and only one Mexican kid. All of the other kids that play baseball are white. It’s not because of a law or purposeful segregation but just because the suburbs that they lived in were mostly populated with white people. “The Sandlot” is a great representation of what life was like in the 1950’s. It showed the main points of what defined the decade. It was accurate to the actual things that were going on during that time. Although there were many changes in the 1950’s, there were some things that didn’t and wouldn’t change for a few more years.
Cite this “The Sandlot” and the 1950’s
“The Sandlot” and the 1950’s. (2016, Sep 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-sandlot-and-the-1950s/