The Analysis of American Mindset in The Pink Flamingo by Jennifer Price

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer


In her essay, “The Pink Flamingo: A Natural History”, Jennifer Price does provide a brief history of the flamingo, both plastic and the live animal. Yet she does more than just describe a bond between the two. Rather, her word choice, tone, and use of examples create a far more significant insight and analysis of American culture and the American mindset.

Word Choice

The essay begins with a sense of excitement created by the very active verb “splashed” and an equally striking adjective “boldness”. Indeed, she begins the piece in a bold way. The analysis however, becomes climatic when she takes the two major claims. Essentially, she argues that the pink flamingo was popular because it was a flamingo and also the fact that it was pink. This intentional use of the obvious established by the second line, even emphasized by italics, already lays the foundation for her opinion on American culture. The fact that this object became popular for these reasons reveals the ways in which the collective American mind forms its desires.


The remainder of the opening paragraph simply establishes background about the flamingo. After that though, the author continues to give indications of what she thinks of culture in the United States. Her argument that used flamingos to reveal prosperity, and especially important notion following the Great Depression, appears to be a valid interpretation. Price appeals to authority in some ways by quoting two well known authors. Her other examples are more telling. She cites a gangster, Benjamin Bugsy Siegel, and his hotel as basis for the striking nature of the flamingo. When explaining the popularity of the pink flamingo, she brings up Elvis. Thus, flamingos became popular across the U.S., or to use her simile, was “cropped up like a line of semiotic spouts”, because of these sights with which Americans were familiar. While there may be a sound basis for this movement, such as post-Repression affluence, Price goes beyond that. These examples show that American culture is trendy, that American purchasing posters patterns are based on those of public figures. Even the Ann Marlings quote she chose reflects that Americans bought pink because it was the coolest thing to do.


Price’s selection of quotes and examples is the tone she uses selectively but effectively. Her sarcasm is questioning in the stand-alone fragment in line 15, “But no matter”. The Americans nearly wiped out this bond, but that was unimportantly then. This surely contrasts with both generic sentiment and especially her scholarly audience. It therefore reflects what she thinks Americans find important. Things that defies conventional wisdom and morality were a non-issues. Later in the essay, she asks a rhetorical question, (lines 46-47). Besides entertaining the reader, she uses this device to further the importance of the color pink. Price then illustrates further absurdly of making the plastic bird unnecessarily brighter than the real one. This leads her to the conclusion that it is “[no] wonder” that the bird stood out in a brighter form outside of its natural environment. Once again she is playing on the obviousness of what she is describing.


Through these various techniques, Price is this able to connect on both a specific phenomenon and it’s more general implications. Examples, word choice, and especially tone help reveal that she finds flaws in the American thought process. This is most true when it comes to the basis for the American trends. She is able to get this message across not specifically through her words, but the implications that occur on a second level.

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