Fashion by Anna Mowatt Essay

Fashion by Anna Mowatt Essay

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In the 19th century play, FASHION, Anna Mowatt develops the character plot as a contrast and comparison between being “natural” and “artificial in a world becoming preoccupied with fashion, and being fashionable. In the head notes, it was stated that Daniel Havens said FASHION is “the ugly image of the American Dream gone sour.” (Watt and Richardson) Fashion has a complex definition. The word ‘fashion’ can mean anything from the type of clothes you wear, how you communicate with others, the place you live, how you present yourself, or who you associate yourself with. In FASHION, Mowatt took a comical yet sober look at the definitions of “fashion,” applied it to real life in 1845, and through her characters, provides a mirror with which an audience/reader can evaluate themselves. I do not believe updating this play would be difficult because America has continued down the fast and destructive path in an effort to keep up with the “fashions” of the day.
Updating for Today’s Audience: If I were re-writing the play, FASHION, I would mirror Mowatt in her analysis of middle class ‘wanna-bees.’ I would also take a look at how even those in the poorer economic classes have their versions of being “in fashion.” America’s system of capitalism provides a bottomless pit for those who seek wealth, status and belonging in their communities. People in today’s middle class are working anywhere from 40 to 80 hours a week trying to seek more wealth in order to provide a more “comfortable life” for themselves and their family. Many, even though they already possess all the needs to live a comfortable life, are always looking to gain a higher status in society, and have a strong desire to reach the next level of wealth. Even people in the poorer ...


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...nd in very different parts of the country. My experience points to the fact that one is not better than the other…simply different. Both the city and the country have great things to offer, and they both have disadvantages; it all depends on what a person is looking for in their life.
FASHION is a play that permeates throughout the centuries. Its themes about fashion and our treatment of it speak strongly to each subsequent generation in America. What is important to us? What matters most to us? How do we want others to see us? How do we want others to accept us? It would be just as easy to produce the play contemporarily today with just a few adjustments. The audience would certainly understand it, and many would see themselves within it.



Works Cited

Watt, Stephen and Richardson, Gary A. American Drama: Colonial to Contemporary. Mason: Centage Learning, 2003.

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