Out of Control

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There have always been detrimental events throughout history that have had an effect on the nation’s economy. In Anna Quindlen’s essay “Stuff is Not Salvation,” she speaks of the current situation of American materialism and consumption, stating that, “These are the dark days in the United States: the cataclysmic stock-market declines, the industries edging up on bankruptcy, the home foreclosures and the waves of layoffs” (500). In other words, she is simply stating that this gloomy and melancholy state of the country is defined by society’s failure in all the different aspects of American society. The real estate, job and economic markets’ success is falling. However, her exaggeration, her valid points, and her clarification of wants versus needs make the content interesting and persuasive.

Quindlen further exaggerates in stating that, “If the mall is our temple, then Marc Jacobs is God” (501). By this, she is insisting that Americans essentially “worship” the mall setting and designer brands as much as they would their respective religion. This can definitely be seen as an issue when it comes to the moral values of a person, and whether or not a person’s priorities are in order. Also, in most cases, popular culture such as fashion has overshadowed traditional religious worship, and Quindlen’s idea is a perfect illustration of the power of pop culture over religion. Quindlen also states, “But the more pernicious problem, an addiction to consumption so out of control that it qualifies as a sickness” (500). Here, she exaggerates in saying that the worst problem is the fact that Americans are so addicted to these luxuries, that their addiction could be classified as an illness. Because she hyperbolizes, she is grasping the reader’s attention, as well as moving the essay along. Another intriguing point that Quindlen makes is her plethora of valid points.

Several amazing points that Quindlen makes include when she speaks of Americans being subject to the hypnotic...
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