America By Tony Hoagland Summary

Decent Essays
In the poem “America,” by Tony Hoagland, the idea of Americans being consumed with their money is shown using symbolism and metaphors. The speaker in this poem is a teacher whose name is never mentioned. One thing revealed in the poem is that the speaker has a father who is presumably very wealthy and successful. One of the teacher’s students compares America to a maximum security prison. A recurring theme throughout “America” is Hoagland showing examples of America’s greedy society using a teacher, student, and a father’s experiences. Using metaphors of money and symbols of rivers filled with merchandise, Tony Hoagland captures how the teacher begins to think after he hears his student compare America to a maximum security prison.
Throughout the poem the speaker mentions things that relate to consumerism in America. An example in the poem that speaks about consumerism comes from lines 1-4
“Then one of the students with blue hair and a tongue stud
Says that America is for him a maximum-security prison
Whose walls are made of RadioShacks and Burger Kings, and MTV episodes
Where you can’t tell the show from the commercials”

In most American societies the economies are run by food chains, and stores.
Consumerism is brought up in this quote because Americans live off of (or used to) Radio Shack, Burger King, and MTV. Burger King is one of the cheapest places someone could eat at. For people that are not making tons of money, Burger King is a a very cheap meal for a family. It
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