Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s

4 April 2015
This paper discusses the portrayal of the atmosphere that characterized the era known as Prohibition in Ann Douglas’s book, Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s.

This paper examines a passage in Ann Douglas’s book, “Terrible Honesty,” that deals with New Yorkers flaunting their defiance of Prohibition in the 1920s. The writer looks at the language of the passage itself and discusses the significance of the choice of words and phrases. The passage itself is reflective of New York during the period of Prohibition when there was excitement in just doing something illegal. Prohibition is a theme that comes up throughout the book and this particular passage on page 101, touches upon how life was changing during this period in history. According to the author, this passage serves as a bridge between the past and how the technological advances affected life as it had been known in the big city.
“Prohibition figures so prominently in this book because it was an important and heated issue, but as we have seen, it was also related to politics, suffrage, religion, and many other highly emotional issues. It was not just about getting a drink on a Saturday night, it was about the right of women to vote, to worship where you choose, and make your own personal decisions. It was an issue of too many laws, and the government trying to tell people how to live their personal lives. Drinking may be addictive and dangerous, but people have the basic right to choose, and if they choose to smoke, or drink, or vote, or visit a specific church, they have the right, and they may also have to suffer the consequences.”
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