Valued Possessions vs. Insignificant Desires
Anna Quindlen, a novelist, social critic, and journalist wrote an intriguing essay “Stuff is Not Salvation” about the addiction of Americans, who splurge on materialistic items that have no real meaning. The ability to obtain credit is one of the main reasons to blame for society’s consumption epidemic. However, Quindlen feels the economic decline due to credit card debt is insignificant compared to the underlying issues of American’s binging problems. Quindlen’s essay gives excellent points regarding the differences in America’s typical shopping habits. Additionally, she mentions how people acquire all this “stuff” but seem to never realize, “why did I get this?”(501). Quindlen makes her audience visualize a world where we acquire our needs versus our meaningless desires. Yet, she fails to mention people who could live a life of happiness through the possessions they acquire.
In summary, Quindlen supports her point of view with examples of American spending habits in the past decades of depression compared to now. She mentions Black Friday and how people become enthralled by cheap bargains (Quindlen 500-501). In Quindlen’s essay, she refers to an accident in which a worker at Walmart was trampled to death by a mob of shoppers and despite the horrific incident people kept shopping (500). With the U.S. depression, Black Friday brings hopes of more money spent, therefore a rise in the markets. The dream of an uplifted economy became unrealistic as people began to realize they could not afford their desirables, not even at a low cost. Today, Americans have an exorbitant amount of credit debt so they can acquire items that they want, without actually paying for them outright, for example, the Chatty Cathy doll Quindlen wanted in her childhood compared to the orange her dad received that had to be paid for (500-501). According to Quindlen, a family having less means they can appreciate possessions more and what they...
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