Comparitive Study of Mona Lisa Smile, at Seventeen and Diary of Anne Frank

1244 Words5 Pages
The 1940s and 50s were a time of great change. World War 2 was won and lost depending on what side you were on. Everyone’s lives were changed. After the end of World War 2, women were expected to return to their pre war roles of a house wife. The government saw women in the workforce as a temporary change. After experiencing independence, women were no longer willing to accept being second best. Women in the 1940s and 50s faced many social, physical and emotional challenges in their lives. These challenges are expressed in three texts: the film text Mona Lisa Smile directed by Mike Newell, the song At Seventeen by Janis Ian and the Diary of Anne Frank. A challenge is an obstacle that prevents an individual from reaching their goal. If overcome, it can lead to success and personal growth. Women in the 1940s and 50s had many challenges such as society’s expectations, persecution and the need for self belief. Mona Lisa Smile, directed by Mike Newell, tells the story of young Californian teacher Katherine Watson who transfer to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Katherine battles to teach a groups of girls and encourage them to be independent and think for themselves. She tries to overcome this challenge in a society that does not value women’s independence and treats them as second class citizens; only fit to look after and serve men. Katherine’s new and strong views challenge the school traditions and bring her to the attention of the school board who instruct her only to teach the syllabus and give no other support or feedback. This can be seen as a metaphor for the treatment of women in the time where women were expected to only do as they were told. The society in this text had low expectations for women. They were expected to marry and look after their household. The challenge to overcome these expectations is presented through juxtaposition. On one hand the
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