Summary Of ' The Things : ' A Story Of The Sixties '

1524 Words7 Pages
Rebecca Sugar
42038858
Western Civilizations 1312
Professor Miller
20 April 2015

Freedom in a Consumer Society

“In a world that was theirs it was almost a regulation always to wish for more than you could have.” Such a world had only just arrived during the early nineteen sixties—with a surge in economic output, an increase in the average income, and the commercialization of mass-produced consumer goods—following the Second World War. This was a time during which France, in particular, transitioned from a class-based, limited-consumption culture to a consumer society in which individuals defined their positions and self-worth based on the possessions that they owned. Georges Perec’s novella Things: A story of the Sixties details the rise of this wealthy consumer society and the various industries that made it possible, through the story of a young couple in their twenties striving to attain an idealized life-style, while hoping to somehow escape what they consider to be a bourgeois trap.
Perec’s novel achieved popular and broad success nearly immediately, succeeding in gaining critical acclaim on both sides of the Iron Curtain. The extensive success of Things is a strong indication of how Perec’s characters, Jerome and Sylvie have been accepted by his peers as a spokesman and woman of their generation, who experienced a common relationship to consumption—marked by dreams of happiness and a desire for freedom—shared by many people, in this period of great increase
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