Guterson further enlightens the reader in his article “The Mall as Prison” on the negative effects the Mall of America has, compared to Disneyland. The previous articles have provided thorough explanations on the social atmosphere of malls, whereas Lizabeth Cohen’s article “The Mall as Threat to Democratic Values,” addresses the legal aspects of malls in America. Each article, although not identical in their views, are effective in explaining each aspect a mall in America encompasses by using strong evidence to support each position maintained throughout the articles.
Walt Disney played a larger role in American society than just providing entertainment; many developers turn to his park, Main Street USA, for ideas when they are designing modern American shopping malls. Walt Disney purposely designed Main Street USA to create a joyful environment. He carefully designed each of his small towns to a specific feature. One of those towns, Main Street USA, sole purpose was social interaction. Shopping malls are an abstract reincarnation of Disney’s Main Street USA.
According to Richard Francaviglia in his article “The Mall as Disneyland,” Disney’s Main Street does not feature those inevitable services that indicate the other side, or darker sides of life. ” He did not have pool halls, bars, or funeral parlors in his town. Disney tried to make fantasy come true. He used magical lighting to brighten up his town at night. By placing abstract images in exact spots he made reality appear joyful. Like malls today, Disney made his town so perfect that people would not want to leave.
David Guterson’s narrative about the Mall of America delves into several facets that are embedded throughout the mall both physically and mentally. A vivid description about the mall’s interior design makes the audience feel like they have visited the mall. Guterson describes how people, individually and as a society, are affected psychologically by this pseudo-metropolis. The grandeur of the mall is, without question, second to none. Shoppers are drawn to visit because of all the modern frills contained within. A theme ark, arcade, hundreds of shops, and eateries are the staples of the mall, but the gardens, flowers, and trees define the mall as being “the best of the best. ” The atmosphere created by combining “Mother Earth” with twentieth century technology creates a certain mystique to the mall and gives the shopper a very comfortable place to spend the day or maybe even days. In “The Mall as Disneyland” Disney himself does not show any form of dark side of life, he created an abstracted image that it is so tempting to confuse with reality. Main Street USA is not the only instance of a shopping center providing an alternate sense of reality.
In David Guterson’s writing “The Mall as Prison”, malls are compared to prisons. Guterson writes about how every mall can be like a prison, or an entrapment for the mind. There are, as Guterson points out, no windows or clocks or anything else to distract you from your shopping. Therefore you are consumed in the atmosphere which was built for the sole purpose of spending money and not thinking of reality. In Lizabeth Cohen’s article she states the legal actions malls have to endure when confronted with situations of free speech and social class.
Diverse social groups are no longer integrated into central consumer marketplaces but rather are confined to differentiated retail institutions, segmented markets, and new hierarchies. In “The Mall as Disneyland” and “The Mall as A Prison” you are not limited to public shopping malls, according to your social status. Everyone is treated equally. Their main goal is to consume you into their world, the owners of the malls have used business strategies to keep their public focused on one thing; buying. By keeping you engaged with majestic structures and great distractions of light shows, movie theatres, roller coaster and much more.