The Materialism of Americans in The Plastic Pink Flamingo

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer


With a sarcastic tone, writer Jennifer Price describes the relationship between the notorious pink flamingo and common culture in an effort to highlight the materialism of Americans during the 1950’s.

Irony and Sarcasm

Price immediately exhibits her sarcastic tone with the title of her essay – “The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History.” This is rather ironic, as she portrays a piece of cheap, pink plastic as something that has sculpted our society in a monumental way. To most educated readers, this would seem bizarre, which is the writer’s goal: for the reader to fully grasp how unfitting it is to have this cheap piece of plastic as a social icon. In conjunction with the previous idea, Price begins her essay with bold diction by emphasizing how tourists are often “flocking” to Florida and departing with new flamingo souvenirs. As a result, the flamingo became “synonymous with wealth.” The author illustrates, in this case, how the flamingo is now the “face” of Florida, now being used as something for Floridians to make a profit from. Price continues with her use of irony and sarcastic tone, specifically when discussing the two differing ideas that are separated by the short sentence, “But no matter.” Prior to this statement, Price acknowledges how flamingos were previously looked down upon and almost hunted to the brink of their extinction. However, following this short sentence, Price highlights the popularity that the flamingo gained during the 1950s. These two ideas contradict each other, clearly, which further manifests the idea that Americans now “worshipping” this molded piece of plastic is undoubtedly ironic.

Simile and Repetition

In conjunction with her use of irony, Price employs a simile in order to further clarify her feelings towards flamingos in American culture. Repeatedly mentioning pink and its multiple, equally exciting shades further emphasizes the flamingo’s unnecessary prevalence in American society. Although the color may be seemingly insignificant, it has become a social norm: “Washing machines, cars, and kitchen counters.” According to Price, the level of idolization has exceeded to new heights; heights that should have never been reached. In 1950s America, restaurants and other businesses in Florida are “like a line of semiotic sprouts,” implementing these flamingos left and right as if they are an imperative factor in the success of their businesses.


Jennifer Price’s essay is merely a part of the whole story: the American adoration of the iconic pink flamingo, therefore, representing the true foolishness of American pop culture.

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