Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, Massachusetts
Link to MaryKate Ames's Senior Art Thesis  
MaryKate  Ames 

Presidential Vacation Homes: Personal Sanctuaries, Created Images

Gloria Naylorís Novels: Beaten-Down Women Repairing Broken Identities

Gloria  Naylor
For Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan their vacation homes served as a retreat from their daily lives and helped them to portray an image of how they wanted to be seen by the American people. Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan all had well-known summer houses that played a role in creating their public image. The vacation houses allowed the American public to see what the president was like outside of the political eye. For FDR, Campobello offered an opportunity to project an image of a man who fought for what he wanted and never gave in to challenges. For JFK, Hyannis allowed him to portray his image as a man whose life revolved around his family. For Ronald Reagan, Rancho del Cielo was the stage to show himself as a man who loved hard, manual labor in life. These personalities displayed at the presidents' vacation homes were vital in shaping how the Americans saw their president. Their vacation houses allowed these three presidents to be able to better relate to the American people and served as an example that the president was just like every other American family.

Similar to how the presidentsí vacation houses helped them to establish their identities, the South Carolina neighborhoods in which the characters of Gloria Naylorís novels live help them develop their identities. The black women in Naylorís novels are in search of their identities that they have lost due to the racism prevalent in society. They begin to believe the negative statements others make about them Ė specifically that because they are black, they will never amount to anything. Only when they find new living situations are they able to begin to reestablish more positive identities because relocating allows them to develop new friendships and healthier relationships. In all of the neighborhoods of The Women for Brewster Place, Linden Hills, Mama Day, and The Men of Brewster Place, the black women stand together to go against judgments and stereotypes of their racist society which gives them the strength to find their identities.

Major Works Consulted:

Hamilton, Nigel. JFK Reckless Youth. New York: Random, 1992.
Naylor, Gloria. Linden Hills. New York: Viking Penguin, 1986.
--. The Women of Brewster Place. New York: Penguin, 1983.
Sutherland, James. Up Close: Ronald Reagan. New York: Penguin, 2008.
Photo Credit: "Gloria Naylor." 2013. The Biography Channel Website. 4 Apr. 2013. people/gloria-naylor-39581.


 Link to MaryKate Ames's Senior Art Thesis