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The Way We Live Now Historical Context

This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Way We Live Now.
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Historical Context

Gay Liberation in the 1970s

The story takes place in the mid-1980s, after AIDS had begun to decimate the gay population of Manhattan and other large urban centers. The lifestyle referred to in the title of the story stands in implicit contrast to "the way we used to live" before the AIDS epidemic. Sontag is careful to include characters of every sexual orientation, but gay history is a particularly pertinent context for her story.

In 1969, the Stonewall riots occurred to protest the police harassment of a bar in the New York neighborhood of Greenwich Village. Many gay men and women were inspired by the solidarity exhibited at the uprising, and several historians point to that moment as a defining one in the burgeoning gay rights movement.

The free, often promiscuous sexual attitudes of gay liberation were in some ways an outgrowth of the more widespread and mainstream...

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This section contains 657 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Way We Live Now Study Guide
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The Way We Live Now from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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