PROSE: – CONSUMERIST CULTURE
I. About the Author
Dr. Cheriyan Alexander served as Associate Professor of English and HOD of the Dept of English at St. Joseph’s College from 1982 to 2018. Born in 1958, Dr. Alexander has had most of his education in Bangalore. He graduated from St. Joseph’s College with a B. Sc in 1979 and went on to CMC, Vellore, where he did a PG Diploma in Medical Microbiology. Then, he shifted his academic field completely and joined MA in English at Bangalore University in 1980. After graduating, he joined St. Joseph’s College as a Lecturer in 1982. He taught there for 36 years and is still associated with the college in an advisory capacity. In 1988, he earned a distinction for his M. Phil, which he did at Bangalore University as an FIP scholar. His dissertation was on the American novelist Saul Bellow. In 1998, he obtained his Ph. D from Bangalore University. His doctoral work was on Post-War Eastern European literature, particularly the effect of totalitarian political regimes on the region’s literature. Dr. Alexander has written on issues of literature, culture and the arts for newspapers and magazines.
IV. Question and Answers
1. The writer refers to the catchy phrase, “shop till you drop” in an advertisement.
a. What is the meaning intended by the advertisers?
Ans: – The meaning of this advertisement is that the consumers should shop till they got tired.
b. Why does the writer call this apt and ironic?
Ans: – Because the media drives mania of mindless consumption that characterizes our lines in the modern age.
c. Which word shows that the writer is condemning consumerism?
Ans: – The word ‘posh’ shows that the writer is condemning consumerism.
2. In the very first paragraph, the writer makes it clear that
a. he supports shopping and shopping malls.
b. he is very critical of them.
Ans: – b) he is very critical of them.
3. The writer puts Pepsi, Coca Cola and other ‘artificially colored, flavored and sweetened water’ under absolutely unessential to human health and happiness.
a. Do you agree with his view?
Ans: – Yes.
b. List any five such articles/gadgets/ food items which your family has been using at home and which are not absolutely essential for your health and happiness.
4. What is the success story of Pepsi and Coca- Cola?
Ans: – Pepsi and Coca-cola are sold in the remotest corner of the world.
5. The second paragraph ends with “a seemingly never-ending list”. What ‘list’ is the writer talking about?
Ans: – In the second paragraph, the writer is talking about the necessary goods.
6. a. What phrase does the writer use in paragraph 3 to refer to the advertisement?
Ans: – Equally unprecedented in the world’s history is the size of the machinery of persuasion that has been set up in order to generate demand for this profusion.
b. What does an advertisement aim to do?
Ans: – The aim of the advertisement is to make money.
7. In the writer’s opinion, shopping has become (complete the sentence)
Ans: – more than a need.
8. What thrills the present-day Indian shoppers?
Ans: – Choice thrills the present-day Indian shoppers.
9. What was the ‘dream come true’ for the US returned Indian?
Ans: – The US returned Indian dreamt that even we should have more than 83 different flavors of ice- cream to choose from, like in America.
10. In the sentence, “And they take to it like ducks to water” (paragraph 5)
a. Who do ‘they’ refer to?
Ans: – Upper-middle-class people.
b. What does ‘it’ refer to?
Ans: – ‘if refers to the new market. ‘
c. What does ‘like ducks to water’ mean?
Ans: – ‘like a duck to water’ means that they have a natural talent of marketing strategies.
11. Does the writer approve of the attitude of the Indians spoken of in paragraph 5?
Ans: – Yes.
12. a. What is the ‘deep irony’ referred to in paragraph 6?
Ans: – The deep irony is while pockets of private prosperity are growing, there is an inexorable impoverishment of the resources that belong to the public realm.
b. Substantiate your answer with anyone example from the paragraph.
13. a. What is the trend referred to in paragraph 6
Ans: – The trend is to push even the most essential services into the private realm so that some company or others can make a profit on them?
b. Who does the trend benefit?
Ans: – The private realm.
c. What is the impact of the trend on the poor?
Ans: – The poor are being pushed into becoming consumers of increasingly expensive goods and utilities.
14. a. What are the advertisers and marketing professionals working hard at?
Ans: – Working hard to see that even people live at the subsistence level in remote rural pockets are lured and entranced into becoming passive consumers of everything from cola drinks to shampoos.
b. How will it affect our villagers?
Ans: – All they see is a vast rural market waiting to be opened up for commercial exploitation.
c. What impact will it have on our environment?
Ans: – The increasing presence of plastic garbage in our rural areas is a clear warning signal. 4
15. a. What kind of vision do the enthusiasts of the free market economy have for India?
Ans: – Enthusiastic of this mission of development are dreaming of a day when all of India will look like the limited states.
b. Do you like India to become another U.S? Why? /Why not?
Ans: – No, because the final confirmation of our reaching the promised land will Come on the day the sheer tonnage of the garbage we throw out-matches the level of the almighty dollar.
c. What negative impact will the free market economy have on our country?
Ans: – The day will come to face the sheer tonnage of the garbage we throw out.
16. Why does the writer say that the model of development based on consumerism is suicidal?
Ans: – The price paid in ecological terms will make it the most suicidal enterprise the human race has ever embarked upon.
17. What according to the writer is the only way to restore sanity?
Ans: – The only way to restore sanity is for local communities, co-operatives, civil societies and democratic governments everywhere to take back the autonomy and initiative for their own development which they recently traded away to the giant global business corporation.
18. As one of the remedies to the mess we have created, the writer suggests a re-awakening. What does he want to reawaken?
Ans: – There is now a great need to re-awaken the numerous enabling spiritualities and wisdom traditions of the various people of the world.
19. Go back to the advertiser’s catchy phrase, ‘Shop till you drop’ in the first paragraph.
a. What was the intended meaning of the advertisers?
Ans: – Consumers’ tendency is to shop till they get exhausted or tired.
b. How does the writer interpret its meaning in the last paragraph?
Ans: – Consumers have a right to the basic material requirements for a life of dignity. One should turn to the commodities which is very much. required to make their life simple and meaningful.
c. Now explain why the writer calls this apt and ironic.
Ans: – The writer says this never-ending shopping will buy only superfluous things that destroy ones’
20. Do you like this article? Why? Why not?
Ans: – Yes, it gives awareness to the consumers to race the mother earth, restoring the sanity, all human beings have right to the basic material requirements for a life of dignity. It is necessary to say “enough” to the merely material then life to be truly meaningful and sustainable.