Consumerism in the Article "Why Stuff Is Not Salvation" by Anne Quinden | Free Essay Example

Consumerism in the Article “Why Stuff Is Not Salvation” by Anne Quinden

Words: 829
Topic: Business & Economics


The process of creating an exposition can be compared to creating an artwork. It demands just as much inspiration and effort and takes nearly just as much time to come up with.

There are certain rules for setting an exposition; however, breaking these rules does not mean devaluing the argument. In her essay “Why Stuff Is Not Salvation,” Anne Quinden makes a witty commentary on the consumerism issue and explains the problem by providing a rough historical analysis of consumerism and its premises.

Thesis statement: Though the exposition part in Anne Quindlen’s article seems to be very heavy and lacking balance with the rest of the text, the information represented by the author seems a natural addition to the rest of the story and, therefore, becomes intertwined with the text, therefore, making the latter unique.

So Many Details, So Little Space: The Obvious Strengths of the Exposition

A single look at the article is enough to notice that the exposition is very big. It takes nearly half of the entire article; moreover, Quinden continues to add more details as she continues her analysis. Therefore, the exposition goes way beyond the traditional norm.

However, exceeding the limits of the exposition does not mean failing to get the point across successfully. Quinn manages to tie in the history of the American economy and the current consumerism issues rather successfully. Therefore, the amount of exposition that the author throws at her readers is quite justified.

The author offers the readers dive into American history and watch the concept of consumerism being born: “Every once in a while, like magic, a bit of extra money would appear. Interest. Yippee.” (Quinden para. 4).

When the Story Gets Too Bulky: What Could Have Been Improved

Needless to say, there are a lot of issues with the article. As it has been explained above, the exposition is way too heavy. It is basically longer than the actual problem discussion, and Quinden clearly knows that.

The author tries to make the background of the problem less wordy by including parts of it into the discussion sections: “The drumbeat that accompanied Black Friday” (Quinden para. 9) is followed by an analysis of the reasons for consumerism to be such a huge part of the American society: “Because things are dire, many people have become hesitant to spend money on trifles” (Quinden para. 9).

Likewise, in the next paragraph, the author starts with an opening statement that follows the previous discussion: “Stuff does not bring salvation” (Quinden para. 10) and ends with more exposition about the happiest American families and the few commodities that their happiness requires (Quinden para. 10).

While the elements of exposition, which the author includes in her argument, can be viewed as the pieces of evidence, which could support her argument, they are far too general to be considered a solid proof for her statement. Thus, they can be viewed as the continuation of the exposition, which took nearly half of the text. Quinn tries to tell her readers too much and makes them lose track of the argument.

Discussion: A Unique Result Worth Making Examples of

Despite the strengths, which the article clearly has, the article has several problems. Most of them are quite clear; first of all, Quinn breaks the rules for the possible length of an exposition. The author makes it disproportional compared to the rest of the text.

The exposition grows to the size of an argument and spreads even further. Just when the readers think that the background information has been provided, Quinden adds another fact from the U.S. history or her personal experience: “Oh, there is still plenty of need” (Quinden para. 7).

However, it is hard to judge the author. The issue of consumerism and its origins is very tricky. To understand the nature of the intrinsic need for shopping, a closer look at the problem is required. Much to her credit, the author sets a very impressive backdrop for her main augment. Quinn does not simply overuse exposition – she intentionally increases its length to create a specific atmosphere.

In addition, going back and forth between her arguments and the background of the problem, the author helps the readers relate to the situation and realize its urgency.

With such a big exposition, the author builds up the expectations of the readers and creates a very specific atmosphere. Therefore, in a certain way, prolonged exposition creates a unique atmosphere. As a result, even the readers that are unaware of the issue may join the analysis and come up with some ideas on the issue.


Though the article was written by Quinden obviously has a very bulky exposition, the weight of the latter is hardly noticeable. By incorporating the exposition with the analysis of the information, adding new facts in succession, the author has created a unique effect of watching the history of the United States and seeing the premises for the current consumerist issue building up.

Works Cited

Quinden, Anna. “Why Stuff Is Not Salvation.” Newsweek 12 Dec. 2008. Web. 8 June 2014. <>.