Shirley Temple as a symbolism for a young nation Essay

Shirley Temple as a symbolism for a young nation

Shirley Temple’s arrival on the silver screen coincided with the era that put the toughest question ever on the American dream of everlasting optimism and life full of endless opportunities. The ideal of a nation that was admired as the miraculous combination of childlike innocence and equally childlike belief in the possibilities of a bright future was in a muddle during the Great depression. The answer for this muddle was found in going back to the basics of optimism and faith in one’s ability to pursue happiness. Shirley temple came across as a personification of this philosophy.

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Parallels between America and Shirley Temple in the wider scheme of things

America was a young nation, hardly two centuries old, trying to capture the world’s imagination in the face of contenders who had been on the political stage for more than two millennia. When such a nation attains international prominence by promising equality and freedom, it is but natural for the rest of the nations to sneer, at least in private. The first seeds of doubt in this precocious young nation were sown by the crumbling of the edifice of free market, it held so dearly as life itself, with the great depression. But this young nation did not want to lose heart. It wanted to prove to the world that its ideals had the strength to weather this storm and many more to come. It desperately wanted to believe. Into this scenario stepped the twinkle toed singing sensation – Shirley Temple. She was unbelievably young but immeasurably talented. She did all that her nation wanted to do. She sang and danced and acted supremely belying her age an held her own(sometimes exceeding in importance and influence) her peerless older co-stars like Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Ronald Reagan – a veritable who’s who of Hollywood.

Relationship between Shirley temple and Hope

The aspiration levels of parents might have been tempered with harsh practical realities of th depression. But he national philosophy of possibility and optimism were present as an undercurrent. Temple helped bring this out with her bubbly screen presence. She taught a generation of American parents to hope that their children can grow up into vivacious, happy and talented images of what they saw in Shirley Temple.

Shirley Temple and the wave of modernity

Temple broke several glass ceilings. She broke the disparity between actors based on age. She was modern without being offensive. She made a great dancing pair with a Bill”Bojangles” Robinson, an African-American to signify the elimination of segregation, which was sometime away in the future.

Shirley Temple’s greatness – Truth and Perception.

Shirley Temple was without doubt a talent found once in a very long time. But, her greatness was more related to what people wanted to see in her which was far more than the combination of all her talent and screen presence. She was great because she could signify the hopes and aspirations of a nation and a generation. The right person at the right time( at the right age and of the right size and gender)


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