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On Creating a Usable CultureMargaret Mead and the Emergence of American Cosmopolitanism$
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Maureen A. Molloy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831165

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831165.001.0001

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The “Jungle Flapper”

The “Jungle Flapper”

Civilization, Repression, and the Homogenous Society

Chapter:
(p.42) 3 The “Jungle Flapper”
Source:
On Creating a Usable Culture
Author(s):

Maureen A. Molloy

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824831165.003.0003

This chapter focuses on Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), which was written and published at the height of the Roaring Twenties. In Coming of Age, Mead encapsulated 1920s ambivalences about progress and loss, science and communal values, the possibilities for happiness, and the superiorities of civilization. The Samoan girl in the story, who is sexually free and without any value conflicts, epitomizes the loss ensuing from civilization. In Freudian terms, she represents the pre-oedipal self that is whole, without repression, innocent, and undamaged. She stands in marked contrast to the flapper—the most problematic figure of the twenties—who epitomized not only loss of innocence but also loss of unity between the individual and the community.

Keywords:   Coming of Age in Samoa, communal values, civilization, pre-oedipal self, flapper

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