According to C. Wright Mills, Americans during the 1950s were Cheerful Robots. Using his excerpt, what you’ve read in the text, and heard in class, why is that description fitting (don’t just repeat or rephrase what’s in the Mills article).
In the article written by C. Wright Mills, who was a sociologist in 1959, he stated that Americans were becoming “Cheerful Robots.” What he was trying to say was that Americans in the early to mid 1950s were not exercising their freedom of choice. Americans were not questioning their government, employers, or developers. They were accepting a way of life that was defined as living the “American Dream.” This lifestyle for middle class America was embraced by the media and was depicted in advertisements. If we consider The Depression on the 1930s and World War II in the 1940s, it is quite clear what occurred in the 1950s. America was recovering economically and people wanted to take advantage of a better life. You certainly cannot fault Americans for wanting to take advantage of the economic prosperity that occurred in the 1950s.
During the 1950s, I believe that the Cheerful Robots were the mainstream of society. They lived in suburban homes with white picket fences and a brand new Ford or Chevrolet in the driveway. Inside, the modern appliances in the kitchen made the daily task of preparing the family meals more enjoyable for women. Dad enjoyed the morning commute to work in his new car. On the way home, he looked forward to watching the evening news on that brand new black and white television in the living room. The children, after school, played carefree in the neighborhood and were not expected home for dinner until the street lights came on. It is not surprising that, after twenty years of strife in America, people would cheerfully embrace this lifestyle.
Levittown, New York became the model of this perfect suburban lifestyle. Levittown was a planned community that consisted of 1,700 identical homes and included churches, shopping centers, modern schools, swimming pools, and recreation areas. It was located 32 miles east of New York City on Long Island. Levit and Sons, Inc. began construction in 1947 and Levittown was complete in 1951. This suburban community was so successful that construction of Levittown, Pennsylvania began in 1952.
The problem was that these suburban hamlets were all white communities. The concept was that families living in these communities could acquire material wealth and live in a safe environment. They were far enough removed from the city that issues regarding minorities and equality were of no concern. The nuclear family could focus on themselves rather than on issues that America faced as a nation. In reality, this concept of peaceful serenity escalated the problem with segregation.
It has been said many times that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Whether living in a suburban community like Levittown was the ultimate lifestyle is debatable. However, many Cheerful Robots chose that lifestyle. Many more individuals including minorities wanted that lifestyle. In my opinion, people wanted material wealth and the comfort that comes with owning a home. Even though they knew from the past that nothing is guaranteed. It is hard to fault people who chose to become Cheerful Robots given the alternatives that existed in the 1950s.