Average Waves in Unprotected Waters Historical Context

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When "Average Waves in Unprotected Waters" appeared in the New Yorker in the winter of 1977, it arrived in a climate of economic instability and social sobriety. The 1970s, the post-Vietnam years in America, were marked by feelings of disillusionment. Working-class people lost faith in government, believing that their vote would not make a difference, and high unemployment created a sharp contrast between the wealthy and the poor.

Households headed by women, similar to Bet Blevins's in Tyler's story, were especially hard hit economically. Salary discrepancies for women and men working in similar jobs became a focus of the feminist movement, and efforts of the movement elicited slow change for economically disadvantaged female workers. The positive news for working mothers was a shift in social perspective that freed women to work and raise families without feeling social ridicule. More and more mothers entered the workforce out of financial obligation...

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This section contains 704 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Average Waves in Unprotected Waters Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Average Waves in Unprotected Waters from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.