The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History

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In the 1950s the newly introduced plastic, hot pink flamingo was not only a yard ornament but also a symbol of a progressive and forward-thinking generation of Americans. In “The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History” Jennifer Price uses the bold symbol of the flamingo to reveal her view of United States culture.
The beginning lines of the essay provide a vivid backdrop to Price’s argument. The image of a “pink flamingo [splashing] into the fifties market” conveys the boldness with which the flamingo was introduced. It did not simply appear in the market - the flamingo made its presence known in a market that was recovering from a severe depression. In addition, considering the flamingo “synonymous with wealth and pizzazz” elevates the plastic depiction of an invertebrate-eating bird to a symbol of grandiose. Price uses this bold background to begin a discourse on American culture, one of progressivism and development.
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Ironically the fake, factory made flamingo became the new trend. The author’s verbose diction symbolizes the “new affluence” of the 1950s generation and the “forward-thinking” of these Depression-raised Americans. Images of “washing machines...proliferated in passion pink” enhance the boldness of the flamingo as the symbol of the Americans who were born in a time of economic instability and progressed toward a new, affluent way of

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