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The American happy family that never was: ambivalence in the Hollywood Family Melodrama

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This essay examines the portrayal of unhappy American families in Hollywood Family Melodramas since World War II. In particular, it examines the ambivalence towards the family evident in American society and films, which arises from the repression of desire inherent within the modern monogamous family.

Keywords: Ambivalence; American Beauty; Desire; Hollywood Family; It’s a Wonderful Life; Melodrama; Monogamous Family; Repression

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2003

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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