Capitalism: America's Imaginary Friend

Topics: Personal life, New York City, Arlie Russell Hochschild Pages: 7 (1755 words) Published: February 2, 2015
Cristale Espinola
100R Basic Composition RQ
Instructor: Jared Weigley
25 November 2014
Capitalism: America’s Imaginary Friend
Capitalism and America have a love affair that is mutually a false belief. Productivity and competition make up a portion of what capitalism is. Whereas busyness is the action capitalism creates. As a whole, the incorporation of busyness adopts the smallest aspects of everyday life. In the Adam Gopnik’s essay “Bumping into Mr. Ravioli,” he writes about his three-year-old daughter’s frustration trying to find the time to play with her imaginary friend, Charlie Ravioli. Olivia creates an imaginary friend Mr. Ravioli, a busy New Yorker who “lived in an apartment on Madison and Lexington.” She would frequently state to her parents that she had “bumped into Charlie today,” and would illustrate imaginary episodes of going out for coffee, grabbing lunch, or racing across town in a taxi. The problem with Charlie Ravioli is that he is always too busy for Olivia. Busyness can serve as a kind of existential comfort or a cover for emptiness, being completely booked or busy in demand throughout the whole day. Arlie Russell Hochschild argues with similar thoughts in her essay, “From the Frying Pan into the Fire.” Hochschild argues how capitalism prioritizes work first and family second. The concept of capitalism is applied through the efficiency people can apply in their lives. Anxiety builds up when capitalism lacks communication and applies busyness in everyday life. Rather than being created from some trauma, Olivia Gopnik’s stories about Charlie Ravioli develops her observation of busyness from her surroundings. Busyness is building up in daily lives, creating isolation between one another. New York City is seen as a busy city where everyone is always on the run, and there is no time to stop and chat. Gopnik worries about Olivia’s imaginary friend who is too busy to play with her. Therefore, he consults his sister who is a developmental psychologist about this situation. On the phone Gopnik’s sister states, “I’m sure that doesn’t occur anywhere in the research literature. That sounds completely New York.” And then she hung up” (Qtd. in Gopnik 155). Through the conversation, Gopnik’s sister assures her brother that because he lives in New York, Olivia’s imaginary friend is created from her surroundings. Charlie Ravioli is just another New Yorker with a hectic daily schedule that struggles to spend time with Olivia. It is likely to create a busy imaginary friend if the environment revolves around busyness. Therefore, Gopnik’s sister saw this situation normal. Met by the nature of capitalism to create long workdays and hectic work schedules, working people struggle to find time. Hochschild argues the meaning of capitalism and how it serves as a symbol in community and family life. She writes, “This means that working long hours and spending a lot of money–– instead of spending time together–– have increasingly become how we say “I love you” at home” (187). Due to the demand of capitalism, working long hours benefits the increase of income, which eventually leads to spending more money. By earning more money, family members are able to spend more on products, or goods. Instead of working for less hours and having a good quality time together, people are going out and spending their money. Work and busyness seem to correlate one another as it has become more important than family. Capitalism does not only change lifestyles, but it causes everyone to run a similar lifestyle and schedule. The importance of working and family is always facing one another. Working parents tend to spend less quality time with their children because of work demand. In modern America there’s more responsibilities that have to be taken cared of. Now, there is no time to time to waste. Gopnik worries about his daughter’s imaginary friend by writing, “I was concerned, though, that Charlie Ravioli might also be the sign of some...

Cited: Brazier, Michelle J. Points of Departure: A Collection of Contemporary Essays. Third ed.
Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
Gopnik, Adam. “Bumping into Mr. Ravioli”
Brazier 153-162
Hochschild, Arlie Russell. “From the Frying Pan into the Fire”
Brazier 183-194
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