Adam Smith presents an inaccurate view within the Wealth of Nations that most people willingly live a parsimonious lifestyle.
Smith clearly lacked the perspective needed to properly access the true nature of those who are left to choose their own lifestyle. Had Adam Smith been able to observe the prodigal environment of the Dupont campus, then his perspective would have undoubtedly been readjusted. Smithâ€™s position throughout the Wealth of Nations is supported by the fact that his society endured much more hardship than todayâ€™s society has experienced.
Extreme war and other depressions are distant memories in high school textbooks for most of modern society. Adam Smithâ€™s view of perfectly parsimonious individuals remains an inaccurate fallacy in todayâ€™s society. Adam Smith possessed an extremely optimistic view of mankind and his behavior within society. Smith envisioned the perfect society when constructing his simplistic views outlined in the Wealth of Nations. He wrongly assumed that most members of society are parsimonious, and prefer to conserve rather than spend.
However, contemporary culture has experienced a dramatic shift resulting in the prodigal society that consumes Charlotte Simmons. In modern society, it is nearly impossible for parsimonious individuals to integrate themselves into an increasingly diverse setting without being flawed by a prodigal mindset. Charlotte Simmons is raised in a household which represents the epitome of frugality.
With a homemade computer and â€œfancy,â€ grease-soaked dinners at the Sizzling Skillet, Charlotte was forced to live the parsimonious lifestyle. Contrary to Adam Smithâ€™s theory, Charlotte did not choose this way of life, but was forced into it by her familyâ€™s deplorable economic status. Charlotteâ€™s contempt and shame towards the family picnic table where they shared meals was hardly deniable from the outsiderâ€™s perspective. Charlotte was never given the chance to experience the luxuries that other students indulged themselves in each day. It is unlikely that Charlotte Simmons would have maintained a modest and parsimonious lifestyle had her familyâ€™s economic status been more affluent.
Given the choice, Charlotte willingly allows herself to conform to the prodigal lifestyle flaunted by Dupontâ€™s students. Charlotteâ€™s collision with prodigality soon occurs when she realizes that many of Dupontâ€™s most elite males find her attractive. She is wary of the situation at first, but as the opportunity continually presents itself, she begins to relent. Contradictory to Smithâ€™s belief that most members of society are voluntarily parsimonious, Charlotte is consumed with the prodigality of her exciting new lifestyle.
She adopts an extravagantly wasteful mindset, shortening her skirt several inches along the way. Each snip of the shears along her hemline easily marks her plummet into moral calamity. Charlotteâ€™s life-altering college experience represents a metaphor for contemporary culture, and the â€œcollege dreamâ€ which most students maintain. Upon entering the college environment, it is unlikely that students hope to remain the same person in college as they were in high school. Most students grasp onto the idea of some type of change, a way of bettering themselves now that their slate is clean. A quiet, studious high school student may reform herself into the drunken girl who wakes up in a different bed each morning.
A lazy high school student may find himself motivated by the college atmosphere to achieve success in a career. Either way, Wolfe portrays Charlotteâ€™s status switch from frugal small town girl to prodigal â€œIt Girlâ€ from an accurate and believable viewpoint.Charlotteâ€™s decline into the clutches of Dupontâ€™s unforgiving social circle represents the overturn of Adam Smithâ€™s perfect society.
The majority of Dupontâ€™s student body could hardly be described as parsimonious, with those who are unlikely to reach noon without becoming intoxicated. Instead, those individuals who do voluntarily live a parsimonious lifestyle are the minority in modern society. Wolfeâ€™s accurate representation within Dupontâ€™s campus depicts the actual state of modern society. Dupontâ€™s students epitomize prodigality with their reckless materialism and promiscuous lifestyle. The prodigality of Dupontâ€™s students is not limited to simply the cash dripping from their fingertips.
Charlotte does not possess the funds to incessantly waste away her money. She is instead consumed by the whirlwind of other prodigal.