Monday, July 11, 2011

“The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History”


     In the essay “The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History” by Jennifer price; the author is very implicit on her idea and point of view on the topic on the United States culture. The idea is that the U.S.A‘s culture is very pompous, this is shown by her view on how Americans are so worry with their image that is been seen by society. Price uses many writing techniques to express her view on United States culture, by the usage of diction, symbolism, and tone Price is able to convey her analysis on the greed and the corruption occurring in the American culture.
     Just looking at the title the reader already gets the point across that the author is going to be using a sarcastic and ironic tone in her writing; “The Plastic Pink Flamingo : A Natural History.” The flamingo is plastic while” natural” may implied that is naturally made, while a plastic flamingo is actually manmade showing how ironic the title is.  The reader gets another taste of her sarcastic tone with the first two sentences of the essay; “first, it was a flamingo”. As if the italics weren’t enough to notice her sarcastic tone on making such an obvious comment, as if a pink flamingo could be anything but a flamingo. It is quite evident that price did this on purpose she wanted to be sarcastic to show her point on how a simple thing as a flamingo can become the symbol of wealth in the eyes of Americans. The author continues with using more irony in her work by actually saying that something Americans did was ironic. “This was a little ironic, since Americans had hunted flamingos to extinction in Florida…”  what price is saying is that once Americans wanted flamingos for their meat, fast-forward  a hundred years now the flamingo is almost being worship by the way it is use all across the nation “In the 1950s, namesake Flamingo motels, restaurants, and lounges cropped up across the country…”.The authors finds it ironic how Americans change their ideas about something that was once meaningless into something that everyone must have as soon as it is “cool” enough. This shows how price thinks that the American culture norm is to follow what everyone is doing or what everyone is buying even if it was just once meat.
     “When the pink flamingo splashed into the fifties…” notice on how the pink flamingo didn’t walk, went in, or dip into the fifties, no it “splash”, the hotel was not just nice it was “grand”, the author is using such playful and lighthearted diction to show how in a way she is making fun of American culture, by not taking it very seriously. “In the 1910s and 1920s, Miami Beach ‘s first grand hotel, the Flamingo, had made the bird synonymous with wealth and pizzazz…” at this point the author makes the flamingo a symbol representing wealth. The author wants to get the point that the only reason the pink flamingo was bought all over  was just because it was a way Americans use to show off their wealth as riches and having a good status is incredibly important in the culture of Americans. “Back in New Jersey, the union products flamingo inscribed one’s lawn emphatically with Florida’s cachet of leisure and extravagance”. The reason for taking a flamingo back to their homeland was to show to their neighbor’s naked lawns that they had wealth, they had visited Florida and that they were somehow with that symbol of wealth better than the rest. The wealth represented by the flamingo was not just for the prosperous anymore, no everyone wanted to be part of the action, “…the new interstates would draw working-class tourist down, too”. The essay stared with the grand hotel attracting the rich, but that was not good enough everyone has to follow what the rich did in the American society and like a pack follow the rich down to Florida and purchase a pink flamingo of their own. 
     An American in its natural habitat has the tendency to be pull by the corruption within the United States; as stated in the essay the flamingo may symbolize wealth, but Las Vegas symbolizes corruption and instant riches, the only sensible thing to do is to put both together.“… Las Vegas the flamboyant oasis of instant riches that the gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel had conjured from the desert in 1946 with his Flamingo Hotel. The American way is to get rich and get rich fast, the author makes a reference to a historic American person to display on how the American culture is that Americans would fall under the corruption of others just to be prosperous with money, to keep up with the high class people and having a good appearance. Price proceeds with more sarcasm in her tone as she makes another clear statement that a pink flamingos are bold also because they are pink, as if that is not obvious already, that flamingos are pink; “and the flamingo was pink-a second and commensurate claim to boldness”. The importance of a flamingo being pink isn’t just important because price says it is, but also because Tom Wolfe and Karal Ann Marling did. “…which Tom Wolfe called the new electrochemical pastels of the Florida littoral…”.”And as Karal Ann Marling has written, the sassy pinks were the hottest color of the decade”. The author is now appealing to ethos and looking to show that both these important people agree with the idea that pink is an important factor to the pink flamingo popularity. Price is sure that just because a celebrity is into something everyone would copy and would want to be like them;”… Elvis Presley bought a pink Cadillac”. Soon after this everyone wanted everything to do with the color pink, “washing machines, cars, and kitchen counters proliferated in passion pink, sunset pink, and Bermuda pink”. Like a wildfire everyone wants to keep status and up to date with the latest things in American society with price suggest is what the United States culture is all about. The sarcastic tone continues on with the finals paragraph of the essay, “why, after all, call the birds pink flamingos- as if they could be blue or green?”, the author wants to say on how Americans emphasize the color of the flamingo when in reality there is really no reason to do so, the color plays an important part in making the flamingo significant part in why it is trendy and stand out.   “The plastic flamingo is a hotter pink than a real flamingo, and even a real flamingo is brighter than anything else around it”, price points out on how Americans have the tendency to exaggerate things to a point where there was no real need to do so; the flamingo stands out enough the color that it is, but it is not enough for Americans they had to go and make the bird even brighter so it can stand out even more. It is never enough in the eyes of an American their society has to demand more and people are there to do whatever it takes to make sure that they are always the wealthiest.
     The pink flamingo is not limited to the United States the pink flamingo is admire by many people all over the world by its distinct features that make this bird special. Weather it is by Christians, in Egypt, or Mexico the pink flamingo makes way into different cultures. It was no wonder the United States has the urge to copy these people and adapt the pink flamingo as their own.  The United States culture is to be the best and that if anywhere else people are enjoying something they want part of this as well. 


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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Read this in English class; very thoughtful. We did an analysis (either rhetorical analysis or argument, I forget) but it was cool! Thanks for analyzing it here!

Anonymous said...

So helpful. This essay went straight over my head. Thanks for explaining it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting and thoughtful analysis. However, you really need to read through and edit out the mistakes in this essay.

Eva111 said...

Good analysis, thanks!

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Anonymous said...

nice anaylsis, you hit the nail on the head however i have to agree that your proofreading and editing needs work...word choice is very important!

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