Get Culture

The first thing that hits you (physically) when you enter the doors of the fortress that is Costco is a blast of cold air powerful enough to make you have to duck your head. It’s a little bit disorienting, and only a small glimpse of what is to come. The carts are roughly the size of a Mini Cooper, and can definitely hold more inside of them. The store is enormous from the outside, but it appears significantly larger once you get inside. Everything is supersized.

Costco is a new addition to Charlottesville, and some of the people seem to be here purely for the experience. It’s a big deal and big news. Others are in a hurry and wield their carts as weapons as they rush around people rubbernecking at the mesmerizing displays of very large and very cheap food. My sister and I head into the maze of aisles to see who can find the most unexpected, outrageous item. Immediately we see a person-sized fireproof safe that can hold up to fourteen guns! Unfortunately, it costs over three hundred dollars, so instead of attempting to wrestle it into our cart I have to settle for a photo.

We continue down towards the food aisles, where we find a jar of mayonnaise that would last a lifetime.

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This is exciting, but more exciting is farther down the aisle where a box of Ramen Noodles with 24 packs costs only $4.89! Disbelief and glee fill Lizzie’s face. Costco is the place where dreams come true. Stores where you can buy a flat screen TV, a 42 pound bag of cat litter, and a 128 ounce jar of mayonnaise is one trip are something that is uniquely American. The bigger and cheaper the better!

What Every American Should Know


People with different viewpoints (for example, older people versus younger people), would interpret this text very differently. The ideas posed in the text are particularly modern ways of thinking, and would be significantly altered from the ways “cultural literacy” might have been defined in the time of older American generations. The idea that cultural literacy today is being changed by the masses constantly and relies on the detailed knowledge of all different cultures, racial groups, and events (no matter how they reflect America) is a large change from the history books filled only with the stories of America’s positive impact on the world.

The Great Gatsby

“But I didn’t call to him, for he gave the sudden intimation that he was content to be alone – he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward- and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been a dock.” (21)

What does this green light represent, in this quote and throughout the rest of the book?