Essay Analysis of Hair

1159 Words Mar 31st, 2013 5 Pages
Essay Analysis of Hair
Daniel West
English 103
9/19/11
Dr. Turner

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The essay Hair written by Maria Alderich, is an analysis of women during the 1950’s need to conform, rebel, or fit in to societies social standards and the inner conflict it caused in women’s identity. The essay is Alderich’s firsthand account of the females in her immediate family and how they use their hair styles to define themselves and represent their self-identity. In the preface, the reader is given a brief but informative insight into Alderich’s literary background. In this brief introduction the reader is told that Alderich is the author of Girl Rearing, a memoir about growing up in the ‘50s (pg.49, Atwan). This small piece of information is vital
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After explaining the importance of her mother not washing her own hair, Alderich goes on to explain that the change in her mother’s hair washing tendencies were brought about by her change in marital status. Alderich recalls, “As a girl and an unmarried woman-yes-but, in my lifetime, she never washed her hair with her own two hands. Upon Matrimony, she began weekly treks to the beauty salon” (pg. 49-50, Alderich). Alderich makes a crucial observation that is vital to her central argument. She makes it clear that the cause for her mother’s hair sporadic hair behavior is caused by her marriage which is evidence of the different expectations of single women in the 50’s and married women in the 50’s. She notes that all of the married women in her mother’s circle all follow this obscure pattern to the extent that it becomes unnatural. (Alderich) The relationship between her mother’s hair and the marriage seems to be one of the strongest undertones proving Alderich’s argument. It seems as though the women are expected to have this hair that is just perfect. But is it really their hair that must be perfect, or is it the women themselves that must be perfect? It is as though there is an unspoken pressure placed upon her mother and women in general. Alderich writes, "Her voice was usually tense, on guard, the laughter forced…” (Alderich), from Alderich’s point of view, her mother seems uncomfortable always weary of being judged and almost not happy unless she is in the

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