Artistic masterpieces can evolve from any genre. Pablo Picasso's abstract paintings are revered by some as just Leonardo Da Vinci's telling portraits are. The same principle can be applied to works of literature. Frontier adventure stories and political solutions written in the form of science fiction alike can find a place in the heart of America. Unlike artwork, literature is judged by the stamp of the amount of copies sold. The term best seller is the goal of publishers, which can heighten or taint the pure nature of the art. Occasionally a book exceeds the basic stipulations in becoming a best seller and rises to the status that is not so clearly defined. These are the novels that truly impact thought and change the society in which the book is distributed to. Despite the fact that there is no official category that decides whether or not a book has shaped a genre, it is absurd to suggest it does not, in fact, exist. This rank is decided when readers look up and realize the standard has changed.
[...] This wish affected Metalious's writing and the underlying message that Peyton Place preached. It also helped define Metalious's belief that female friendship was more reliable and enduring, which was also featured in Peyton Place. Feministic pride played throughout the scandalous novel. The fact that a woman enrolled herself in the process of writing and publishing such a novel proves that she believed herself to be someone capable of expressing herself in an unorthodox and public way. Historical factors also played a part in Metalious's authorship and the impact Peyton Place had on its readers. [...]
[...] The novel was saturated with places and people and ideals from Metalious' life. Metalious embraced literary freedom, changing aspects of her life in the novel so that Allison could succeed where Metalious failed. The satisfaction of the independence that Metalious craved was short lived. After the war's victorious conclusion, the men returned to fulfill the careers and the breadwinner status in society they had once held. American sentiment about the necessary transition was quickly dealt with. Toth explains, postwar women's image was promoted in the media and in education had much more to do with the Kampus Kitten than the Rosie the Riveter, Katharine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, or the suffragists of the 1920s. [...]
[...] “Everyone was reading it: college graduates; high school drop outs; even ‘Ozark Mountain Boys' who rarely read at all Honor students, allowed access to the ‘suppressed shelf' in libraries, passed over the bare-breasted natives in the National Geographic- and took up Peyton Place,” (137,138). Other repercussions of the published book include the unsettling attitude of those in Gilmanton, the New England village in which Peyton Place was allegedly based, despite Metalious's insistence that the three- fourths of the book had been written before she and her family had moved there (Toth 123). [...]
[...] America was talking about the book that had thrown the country into a moral dilemma and the author who had created the controversy. Metalious was featured on the back of the book wearing her classic uniform: a checkered flannel shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers. “With her hair pulled back and her thoughtful expression, she looks very young, innocent, vulnerable- not at all like the lady whose scandalous novel was being readied to shock America,” (Toth 117). This famous back book jacket photo earned Metalious the nickname “Pandora in blue jeans,” which made reference to the author of the most scandalous book in America at that time and the fact that she was clad in blue jeans. [...]
[...] Carlos Baker, a critic for New York Times Book Review, said late Sinclair Lewis would no doubt have hailed Grace Metalious as a sister-in-arms against the false fronts and bourgeois pretensions of allegedly respectable communities, and certified her as a public accountant of what goes on in the basements, bedrooms and back porches of a ‘typical American town,'” Clad with racy, local storylines, Peyton Place was able to secure a place in the fifties' popular culture and a cult following of others who attempted to reciprocate the scandalous nature of the novel. [...]
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