AP Language Rhetorical Analysis In Jennifer Price’s critical essay, “The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History,” she assesses the irony in the popularity of the iconic plastic flamingo in American culture in the 1950s. Price illustrates her irony and negative attitude towards the way Americans destroy the lives of the flamingo and replaced it with an obnoxious, inanimate, over celebrated Floridian souvenir with adverse diction juxtaposed with positive word choice and through factual history of early symbols of the flamingo to show the superficiality of Americans post WWII[a].In her essay[b], Price assesses the irony of the “pizzazz” and “boldness” the flamboyant lawn ornaments bring even though the flamingo has been hunted to almost complete extinction by Americans in Florida. The materialistic ways and egos of Americans shone with pride as the fad of the replicas of flamingos rose with the superficiality of the American mind. Saying this with a sardonic attitude, the comical impression she portrays is intertwined within the lines of her factual information of the flamingo’s history.
The trend seemingly innocent to the peo[c]ple with these beautiful, shiny, hard creatures sitting in front of their trailer they call home are blind to realize the preeminent meaning of the flamingo to others, as p[d]rice reveals, “Early Christians associated it with the red phoenix. In ancient Egypt, it symbolized the sun god Ra. In Mexico and the Caribbean, it remains as a major motifs in art, dance, and literature.”
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Price expresses that not only did the flamingo hold religious symbols, it continues to embody the arts for other cultures. She shows Americans fail to see the history and true symbolism of the flamingo behind the egocentrism and “sassy pink hue” the plastic flamingo seems to bring. Price uses contrasting diction to bring out the negatives seen with the American symbolism of the vivacious color the plastic flamingo brings[e].
First starting out as simply hot pink, Price illustrates that Americans were living by “the bigger, the better” rule; one shade of pink is not enough to represent the American boldness in the “nifty fifties. ” Along came “broiling magenta, livid pink, and methyl green. ” Broiling, livid, and methyl all having a negative connotation paired with these vibrant colors all directly translated to boldness, showing the irony Price expresses of the demolishing of flamingos habitats, but Americans taking pride in the fact that we can just replicate these small creatures.
The recreation becoming such a popular trend, instead of having to take a week long trip to a subtropical area to obtain this plastic prize, the pizzazz became more achievable as it moved into our everyday lives with all shades of pink being slapped on our cars and kitchen decor leaving the Americans with more of an ignorance than they previously had. Price’s purpose is more to poke fun at the culture to the point of making a mockery of such foolishness.
Price seems to express a negative and sardonic attitude towards American ignorance and irrationality of their thinking. Price writing with overall adverse juxtaposed diction she mocks the Americans, yet they fail to see the flamingos role in art and literature. We drive them to the point of almost being completely non existent. But no matter, our replicas will take their place[f].
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