Although Grace Metalious seems to mock the town and the people of Peyton Place in the novel, hypocrisy is a theme intended to draw the line between the ideal, seemingly perfect life Americans strive to live in and the reality of the life they face instead. When characters and their actions can first be observed in the book, they are viewed as a mockery of the town. However, after further observation it is true that Grace Metalious is actually trying to display her interest in a hypocritical society and the difference between what the town wants the outside world to view them as and what the people in the town view each other as.
Reverend Fitzgerald seems to mock not only himself and his wife, but also the Protestant Church.
[...] While Fitzgerald's resignation may seem to mock religion in a negative way, it actually helps to demonstrate the imperfections of small town society and shocks the town into the reality that everything is not so perfect and that perhaps, the churches in the town are not the stable mountains they claim to be. This thinking allows Metalious to subtly suggest her opinions about the hypocrisy in religion without challenging the church directly. By creating characters, like Reverend Fitzgerald, that deceive their faith and also their people, she places an imperfect situation into a town where imperfection is not accepted. [...]
[...] By making it known that the Carters had been shack residents themselves; Metalious creates a hypocritical situation, proving that even though the Carters surround themselves with wealth and the ideals of the perfect life, they are still faced with the situation of poverty with Selena and gossip within the town. It further demonstrates Metalious's lesson to teach her readers that even when wealth is achieved you cannot attain that perfect life. By the end of the novel, Metalious makes several attempts to show her readers that the “American Dream” of a perfect life is nearly impossible; however she does show that people cannot escape the reality of everyday living. Gossip seems to be the center of evil and in [...]
[...] Because Samuel had been black, he was looked down upon by white men because he was not helping people of his culture fight for their freedom; he contributed to the racism of his own culture. The looming castle of Samuel Peyton overshadows the town's seemingly perfect image and stands as a symbol of hypocrisy in the town, reminding the residents that their lives are not perfect, and either was Samuel Peyton's. The Carters present a contradiction in their views against Ted dating Selena which exemplify hypocrisy in the novel. [...]
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