The effects of consumerism on individuals and society.
‘The new slavery is consumerism’ (Bryant H. McGill); people use consumerism to gain control and power. In Bruce Dawe’s poems Americanized and Abandonment of Autos, and Claire Carmichael’s novel Ads R Us, consumerism is conveyed as a trap that is a continuous and vicious cycle of replacing products with new and “better” things even if the old product still works. Dawe’s Americanized is an extended metaphor for the way that America has taken control of other countries through consumerism, and Abandonment of Autos demonstrates the replacement of “old” things with newer things. Carmichael’s Ads R Us shows how people are able to use the trap of consumerism to gain power and control over society.
Americanized portrays America as a mother caring for her baby which represents the rest of the world, showing how America has taken control of influencing the world. The mother is caring for her baby boy and telling him stories about the outside world and how bad it is, as if she is telling him that he should be afraid to be without her guidance and protection. She continues to care for him by ‘popping him on his plastic pot.’ The metaphor suggesting that America is “toilet training” the rest of the world to do everything the way that Americans do. Dawe uses this the get the reader thinking about how much America influences them as an individual and how the things that America does and the products that they bring out control the way they and others live.
Abandonment of Autos is used to convey the concept of replacing products that are no longer popular with the newest, latest product out. The poem portrays a man who doesn’t want his car anymore selling it to go and buy a new “better” one, with the person looking at his old car being critical and demeaning towards the car. The merchant in this poem is a metaphor for ‘… one who senses the fitness of things’ and the way that our consumerist society tells us...
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