Changing the Face of America

Taking a look back in time you are able to see how artists and other writers used words and pictures to get people to think the way they wanted them to think. In the 1950’s artists were able to use pictures of families, televisions and just about any other house hold item to convey a meaning that we would understand subconsciously. In the book “Homeward Bound” by Elaine Tyler May, she talks to us about the new home life and how the families are changing right along side the new fast changing times they are living in. The advertisements that I chose each have their own uniqueness to them.

They both however are showing what money can do for a family or just a single person in general. They show that having money and living out the American dream is what it is all about. The thing that you need though in order to do this is to have security and some sort of status maker to show people that you mean business. The first advertisement I found was of the Ford motor company. In the advertisement you see a sleek and beautiful new Ford car. It is on the set for a movie, showing off its beauty to the cameras and the people that are on set too with the car.

You see props all along the set, we know those aren’t real, the only real prop they are using on that set is the beautiful ford car. The other advertisement that I found was one of a family all together, gathered around the mother. The father is standing up behind the chair, his son is off to the side, and the mother is sitting in the chair while her little girl is sitting on her lap. It seems that they are all gathered together so that the mother can read the book that she is holding in hers, to them for their enjoyment.

This advertisement was selling life insurance for the whole family. Each of the advertisements is targeting a specific group of people that they want to bring into what they are trying to preach about. The Ford motor company wants the group of the middle class family to come and buy their cars. They are telling the people that their future will look a lot better if there was a Ford car parked in their driveway. They are telling them that if it is good enough to be on a movie set then it is good enough for you to own and drive around to show off to your neighbors and friends.

The insurance company is called, The Mutual Life Insurance Company. They are trying to tell the American public that they must buy life insurance if they want to protect their families. They tell us in the advertisement that having a “practical financial plan,” everything will be alright for your family. They use this family in their advertisement to show us how happy our families could be if we use their life insurance plan, because with the help of this insurance company they can give all the happiness in the world.

The audience for each of these advertisements in the middle and working class people of the American public. They want to target these two groups because they are making enough money where they are able to afford both the life insurance and the new Ford car. The symbols that are used in each of the advertisements are different. The one for the life insurance is using the portrayal of a happy family in their advertisement. They are doing this to show happiness can come from the security that one can get from the insurance they have.

The evil though that this can possess is the false protection that life insurance can give to a family. They also try to give the great illusion of a happy family by telling about their family life in the top right corner of the advertisement, giving the names of the family members, and even the name of their dog that’s not in the picture with them. The picture of the Ford car is using the exaggeration that fords are better and the person in them is much better off in that car then in another car. In the book “Homeward Bound” written by Elaine Tyler May, she talks about the baby boom of the 1950’s.

She tells us that there was a great increase in the making of babies during this time; she said it was the Cold War that helped to trigger the great boom in babies . Also she states the average number of children went up increasingly as well per family . It was just in one certain group of people in America but it was all the classes that were contributing to the baby boom. The advertisement for the Life insurance portrays this movement of having more kids in their family. In the picture there are only two kids but you know that they are thinking that they need to have more because during that time it was the patriotic thing to do for the country.

They didn’t want our population dying out . The advertisement draws the reader’s attention in by showing the family all gathered together while the mother is reading them a story from the book she has in her hands. Then there’s the father standing above them all right behind the couch, showing that he is the controlling figure in the family and that no one else can take that position from him. Also according May fatherhood became very important to the leading males in the household. They thought the boys in the family needed the father to be there to give him guidance, so that the boy did not grow up to become a sissy boy .

The advertisement represent the 1950s because of the fact that it shows how the strong family bonds were present in any family that you came in contact with. What it says about the time period is that people were very worried about their families and they knew that they needed to stay together and stay healthy. They lived in the time of the Cold War and were in fear of a nuclear strike that could quite possibly take out a major part of the population. She also begins to tell us about the mass amounts of consumerism that started up in the 1950s.

There were many new status symbols during this era, buying a new home was one of them, they like to call this the “American dream . All families thought this was the greatest part to having been being to have a place to call you own and have a house with the land so that your family can enjoy it. They have said that having a car sitting in the drive way is another good notch in your belt. The Ford motor company was the leading company in making new family cars for the American family. In the advertisement for the ford motor company they are on the set of a movie set.

They have their brand new model car out for show and to be in a movie. They want us to see the glory of the car and to see how it would be if you were to have that car. Ford wants you to think that having this car you would be the center of the world and be the best in your neighborhood. The scene that the car is sitting in looks to be a very up scale town with a nice house with a balcony, and a very well dressed lady standing on it calling out to the man in the nice new Ford car. This is showing off how the power of having car works well with others that you know and don’t know.

With the consumerism on the rise, the money spent on home furnishing also went up greatly with more families buying homes . The growing changes in America in the 1950s drastically shaped the face of the new America. People were buying and selling new products. Houses the new American dream, families all wanted to get that perfect home and are with their perfect family with nothing going wrong. When Elaine Tyler May wrote “Homeward bound” she wanted to tell us what was going on in our nation. She told us of the changing world that we live in here in America.

Post World War two times were immense growth and prosper for the American family. The baby boomer era was a time when the families thought that it was patriotic to have more than one child in their family because they thought that if the nation was going to be struck by a nuclear bomb. That they needed to have those “extra” children in order to keep the population up and running. Advertisements were used to trick the American public in to buying their goods and relaying secret messages via their advertisements in the newspapers or magazines