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Reader Response Essay, John Kasson, Amusing the Million

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American culture changed at the turn of the century due to a challenging reestablished social order. Coney Island at the beginning of the twentieth century had a profound impact on societal norms. Outside of Coney Island, women were often treated as inferior while men ruled the throne in nearly all aspects of life. However, within Coney Island the gender gap was equalized. Coney Island served as a medium to a change in the traditional mindset. Here, the hotels, amusement parks, and rides and events that the civilians encountered a display of immorality, fast pleasure and love for profit. As Kasson states "At the turn of the century the nation was beginning a pivotal transition form an economy organized around production to one organized around consumption and leisure as well." Coney Island provided an open minded and progressive atmosphere in which men and women could be equals; which contrasted to the strict gender roles of genteel society.

The differences between genteel culture and the new culture of commercial amusements were made clear in Coney Island. As Coney Island receives its fame and fortune first through the upbringing of elegant hotels, men and women began to enjoy themselves to an extent that had been absent in the past. This new culture could take off from their daily work routines and experience a more laid back and negligent approach to life. In

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