Consumerism Is A Tenet Of The American Culture Essays

1133 Words Feb 5th, 2015 null Page
Consumerism stands as a tenet of the American culture. Our common desire to possess the newest or most popular products drives our daily lives. We strive to have the possessions of those to whom we compare ourselves – friends, family, neighbors, associates – in the hope that we may feel a semblance of fulfillment. Yet, this path of obsession over objects merges our individual identities with the objects we covet. In the novel A Mercy, the character Jacob Vaark epitomizes this modern materialist trend. Through the metaphor of Vaark’s insatiable desire for a mansion, Morrison criticizes the modern consumerist American culture. Upon his meeting with the D’Ortegas, Vaark immediately begins to envy the Jublio estate – its wide, iron gates, large iron fences, wooden siding and wide windows. Yet, immediately afterwards, Morrison clearly identifies the root of this desire, “And [Jacob] realized, not for the first time, that only things, not bloodlines or character separated them.” (Morrison, pg. 31) Vaark sees the social gap between himself and D’Ortega as fully dependent on their respective possessions and only their possessions – the objects by which others can judge us materially – as important. To advance in the social hierarchy, we must obtain grandiose objects to define our economic achievements and more importantly, others must be able to openly see these possessions and desire them. In short, in our materialistic culture, respect depends on the envy of others. As seen in…

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