Teenage Drunk Driving Essay

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Richard Linklater’s film, Dazed and Confused, focuses on a group of teenagers who are celebrating their last day of school. The movie follows these high schoolers as they anticipate the coming of summer. The school’s star quarterback, “Pink” Floyd, must decide whether to play football his senior year by signing or not signing an abstinence from alcohol and drug use. The film revolves around this conflict that Floyd is struggling with. However, the incoming freshmen are doing their best to avoid getting hazed by the seniors. There is no certain plot in the film, it just follows the teenagers around as they have a good time. The movie is set in the 70s when teenagers had the freedom to do what they wanted while having easy access to drugs and alcohol. To get a better understanding of what it was like to be a teenager in the 70s, I think looking into the historical context of this time- and their freedom and use of substances such as alcohol and drugs- would better help the audience understand the movie. Looking into the historical context of the 1970s will provide a background on the movie to help better understand why teenagers did what they did.

To start this project, I would first investigate what was going on in the world before the 70s started and what was going on during that decade. I would want to know if any major world events impacted many people, and if so, what were they. Were there any wars going on? If so, was the United States involved in the war? Who was the president during this time? Did he pass any laws or acts? Was the world considered a “safe place?” While I don’t know much about the history of the '70s, I do know the United States was coming off a win in the Vietnam War. The morale of our country was high. Nixon was president at to start of the '70s but got involved in the Watergate Scandal, causing him to resign. Nixon created mistrust between the people and the government. It seems likely that people took their problems into their own hands and started to rebel against the standard of life.

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I would also want to know more about what teenagers’ lives were like. Based on the movie, it seemed like teenagers could go out and do what they wanted. Why did they have this much freedom? What did they do for fun and where did they go? What music did they listen to? What clothing style did they wear? What were relationships like? Was hazing a big part of high school like it was in Dazed and Confused? What were their family life’s like? Did parents have control of their teenagers or let them run rampant? Teenagers began to experiment with different types of clothing and music. As seen in Dazed in Confused, the teenagers all had a “hippie” vibe to their clothing and music was always playing in the background. Cars were probably the reason for their freedom, being able to drive themselves wherever. Cars were also seen as a place of romance. Why were cars such a large feature of the 70s? The 70’s sense of community was very different from the way it is now. Why has it changed so much? Why did the world seem safer back in the 70s? Did teenagers take school seriously? Did they read books? Were there extracurricular activities for girls? Why did these teenagers have such a large impact on the 70s?

Another aspect of teenage life in the 70s that would be beneficial to this research project would be alcohol and drug use. I could tell this was a large part of teen life in the 70s since in the movie, some teenager was usually smoking a blunt in the scene. The movie also focuses on teenagers partying on their last day of school, which of course includes alcohol along with drugs. Did all teenagers drink and do drugs? Why were drugs so accessible? What was the legal drinking age? Were there any laws or acts passed on drugs? Did parents just allow this behavior to go on? What drugs were being used? Did they smoke marijuana at school? How did teenagers get away with smoking marijuana, was it legal? Why did teens resort to drug and alcohol use? Along with drugs and alcohol, cigarette use was big for teenagers. Why do teenagers smoke cigarettes? Did teenagers smoke them because other teenagers did? The health effects were less known in the 70s and it was very popular to smoke cigarettes. Cigarette use was rampant in the 70s along with drinking and driving. Why did teens think it was okay to do that? Did parents allow their children to do this? Were there less police on the streets? Drunk driving was a huge problem in the 70s and not much was done about it. Was drunk driving considered normal? Although teens had easy access to alcohol since the drinking age was eighteen, I believe drug use was a superior part of the 70s. Even though a Controlled Substance Act was passed in 1970, drug use continued to grow. Discovering the reason for alcohol and drug use among teenagers could give us better insight into who they were and why they were portrayed the way they were in the film.

Finding the answers to these questions about the historical context behind the 70s, the freedom of teenagers, and alcohol and drug use to better understand why teenagers did what they did in the 70s and in Dazed and Confused. It could also help us better understand why “Pink” Floyd was against signing the abstinence sheet from drugs and alcohol for his high school. We might also gain a clearer sense of how the movie engages with the historical context from the 70s.

To finish this research project, I would look at the parent’s side of things in the 70s. the way children are raised influences how they behave as teenagers. Also getting the parent’s view on teenagers in the 70s could provide insight into what teenagers were like. For this project, I would strictly focus on the 1970s and possibly the few years leading to the 70s. It would also be valuable to research what happened after the 1970s and if the same teenage ways were continued into the 80s. Researching the teen life of the 70s would help us better understand Linklater’s way in which he portrayed teenagers in Dazed and Confused.

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Teenage Drunk Driving Essay. (2024, February 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 12, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/teenage-drunk-driving-essay/
“Teenage Drunk Driving Essay.” Edubirdie, 28 Feb. 2024, edubirdie.com/examples/teenage-drunk-driving-essay/
Teenage Drunk Driving Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/teenage-drunk-driving-essay/> [Accessed 12 Jul. 2024].
Teenage Drunk Driving Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 Feb 28 [cited 2024 Jul 12]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/teenage-drunk-driving-essay/
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