Image Analysis Of Coney Island Amusement Park

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The image from John F. Kasson’s Amusing the Million was taken in 1911. It captures a huge crowd of men, women and children who seemed joyous because of the amusements. Elspeth Brown’s “Reading the Visual Record” suggests that it is vital to first illustrate an image based on its physical qualities before analyzing the background. Apparently, the elephant in the middle that was carrying four women seems to be the main feature in this image. The elephant had the name “Judy” hanging on the left side of its body. Additionally, there is a sign “Miniature Electric Railway” in the left corner of the picture. To the right of that, a man is sliding down another attraction. Some crowd had their attention on the elephant, whereas some were looking at the men on the slide. Most of the people in this image were dressed pleasingly, which may suggest that they are most likely from the middle or upper-class society. Based on these physical qualities, it is reasonable to assume that there were other elephants and attractions around the park.

Coney Island was the first amusement park in American history. It was known for being a high-spirited place that attracted many Americans. It was built based on the concepts of the Columbian Exposition of Chicago and the Central Park. However, it offered the opposites of what people expected from these popular landmarks. Hence, a high population of American visited Coney Island because of its uniqueness and creativeness. This is a great evidence to show that social relations were more entertainment inclined during the late 19th and early 20th century. It also depicted a leisure and exciting time in the American history. Before Coney Island, entertainment was only affordable for the wealthy people. The middle and lower-class people were solely focused on their jobs, with little or no entertainment activities at all. People flocked to Coney Island because they were excited about the comedy atmosphere offered in the park. Blowing cold air into the skirt of a woman was one of the most popular slapstick comedy that was present in Coney Island. It was evident that the demographic was no longer exclusively focused on moral integrity. People did not strictly follow the culturally-accepted rules. Instead, they were developing their own set of guidelines in order to promote entertainment.

In conclusion, unlike any other beaches that only offer luxuries for the upper-class society, Coney Island strived to challenge the norms by offering multitude of leisure activities for different economic classes. Therefore, it managed to change the material, demographic and social relations of American life during the late 19th century and early 20th century. All in all, one can easily conclude that entertainment was the greatest appeal to the masses.

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