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Pink Flamingo Ap Essay

AP Rhetorical Writing Practice

Read the passage carefully. Then write an essay in which you analyze how Price crafts the text to reveal her view of United States culture.

Annotate the Essay with the PROMPT and ESSAY TYPE in mind.

When the pink flamingo splashed into the fifties market, it staked two major claims to boldness. First, it was a flamingo. Since the 1930s, vacationing Americans had been flocking to Florida and returning home with flamingo souvenirs. In the 1910s and 1920s, Miami Beach’s first grand hotel, the Flamingo, had made the bird synonymous with wealth and pizzazz. . . . [Later], developers built hundreds of more modest hotels to cater to an eager middle class served by new train lines — and in South Beach, especially, architects employed the playful Art Deco style, replete with bright pinks and flamingo motifs.

This was a little ironic, since Americans had hunted flamingos to extinction in Florida in the late 1800s, for plumes and meat. But no matter.In the 1950s, the new interstates would draw working-class tourists down, too.Back in New Jersey, the Union Products flamingo inscribed one’s lawn emphatically with Florida’s cachet of leisure and extravagance.The bird acquired an extra fillip of boldness, too, from the direction of Las Vegas — the flamboyant oasis of instant riches that the gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel had conjured from the desert in 1946 with his Flamingo Hotel. Anyone who has seen Las Vegas knows that a flamingo stands out in a desert even more strikingly than on a lawn. In the 1950s, namesake Flamingo motels, restaurants, and lounges cropped up across the country like a line of semiotic sprouts.

And the flamingo was pink— a second and commensurate claim to boldness. The plastics industries of the fifties favored flashy colors, which Tom Wolfe called “the new electrochemical pastels of the Florida littoral: tangerine, broiling magenta, livid pink, incarnadine, fuchsia demure, Congo ruby, methyl green.” The hues were forward-looking rather than old-fashioned, just right for a generation, raised in the Depression, that was ready to celebrate its new affluence. And as Karal Ann Marling has written, the
“sassy pinks” were “the hottest color of the decade.” Washing machines, cars, and kitchen counters proliferated in passion pink, sunset pink, and Bermuda pink. In 1956, right after he signed his first recording contract, Elvis Presley bought a pink Cadillac.

Why, after all, call the birds “pink flamingos” — as if they could be blue or green? The plastic flamingo is a hotter pink than a real flamingo, and even a real flamingo is brighter than anything else around it. There are five species, all of which feed in flocks on algae and invertebrates in saline and alkaline lakes in mostly warm habitats around the world. The people who have lived near these places have always singled out the flamingo as special. Early Christians associated it with the red phoenix. In ancient Egypt, it symbolized the sun god Ra. In Mexico and the Caribbean, it remains a major motif in art, dance, and literature.No wonder that the subtropical species stood out so loudly when Americans in temperate New England reproduced it, brightened it, and sent it wading across an inland sea of grass.


Jennifer Price
The American Scholar, Spring 1999

Presentation on theme: "The Plastic Pink Flamingo AP Prompt"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Plastic Pink Flamingo AP Prompt
Writing aThesis StatementandChunked Paragraph Response

2 Deconstructing the Prompt
The passage below is an excerpt from Jennifer Price’s recent essay “The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History.” The essay examines the popularity of the plastic pink flamingo in the 1950’s. Read the passage carefully. Then write an essay in which you analyze how Price crafts the text to reveal her view of the United States culture.

3 Deconstructing the Prompt
The Subject: Jennifer Price’s recent essay “The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History.” The Concrete (technique found in text): how Price crafts the text The Abstract (author’s purpose): to reveal her view of the United States culture.

4 Forming a Thesis Statement
The Concrete: How does Price craft the text? The Abstract: What is Price’s view of the United States?

5 Forming a Thesis Statement
The Concrete: How does Price craft the text? Price crafts the text by setting up contrasts between geographical locations, socioeconomic groups, and America’s treatment of plastic vs. real flamingos. The Abstract: What is Price’s view of the United States? Americans are superficial, trading sacred, natural beauty for temporary status symbols.

6

7 The Thesis StatementIn her essay “The Plastic Pink Flamingo: A Natural History,” Price crafts her essay by showing contrasts between socioeconomic levels, geographic locations, and treatment of flamingos, suggesting that Americans are superficial, trading sacred, natural beauty for temporary status symbols.

8 The Chunked ParagraphTopic Sentence Concrete Detail Commentary Conclusion

9 The Chunked ParagraphTopic Sentence (TS) – A reason that supports your thesis statement. Concrete Detail (CD) – evidence, examples to support your topic sentence. Commentary (CM) – your analysis and explanation of the concrete detail to connect it to the topic sentence. Commentary – a continuation of analysis/explanation. Concrete Detail – another piece of evidence/example. Commentary – analysis and explanation of the new concrete detail. Commentary - a continuation of analysis/explanation. Conclusion – a sentence relating the new information back to the thesis statement.

10 The Chunked Paragraph #1
Beginning with her opening paragraphs, Price traces the rise to fame of the plastic pink flamingo and its descent from the height of social status to the bottom. She notes that in the 1910s and 1920s, flamingos were “synonymous with wealth and pizazz,” but by the 1930s it was cheapened to a souvenir for vacationers, and by the 1950s it was a lawn ornament for the working-class. Although, the flamingo continued to be highly sought after, its symbolic nature degraded over time. It became associated with the flashy, temporary decadence of Las Vegas and cheap motels and consumer products. The working-class brought the flamingo from “Florida’s cachet of leisure and extravagance” to “[inscribe their] lawn” when they returned home to New Jersey. While Florida is associated with luxury retirement homes and vacation resorts, New Jersey produces images of industrial, working-class neighborhoods. By tying social status to particular states, the author reinforces the declining reputation of the bird. The flamingo’s association with urban industrial sprawl compared with the relaxing, sparkling beaches of Florida is laughable. Price’s sarcastic treatment through contrasts of socioeconomic status and region, prove that she finds the trinkets to be ridiculous.

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