Affluenza In Herman Koch's The Dinner

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Herman Koch delivers a riveting commentary on affluenza in his novel “The Dinner”, in which the deleterious effects of affluence play a crucial role in the unfolding events. The term ‘affluenza’ was recently popularized in the 2013 Ethan Couch trial; prior to the twentieth-century, it was heretofore unheard-of. Symptoms include extreme materialism and materialism in the pursuit of status to the detriment of one’s relationships, mental and/or emotional health, and more. When found in youth raised in privilege, such as Ethan Couch, and Koch’s Michael and Rick Lohman, affluenza manifests as an extreme disregard for others’ well-being. Today, the average level of wealth per household, and thus per child, has multiplied since the past decades, evidenced by anecdotes from elders, while affluenza has become a relevant social issue.…show more content…
The ambition of more financial success and more material possessions is impractical, because of the impossibility of achieving the state of ‘more’. A prime culprit of instigating this desire is commercials, for which viewers’ desires are only quenched when the longed-for product is bought, a state which only lasts until the next effective advertisement. Paul Lohman, the narrator of “The Dinner” lampshades this, “You had to give him credit – fashion and status didn’t interest him” (Koch 15). Instead, the Lohman children experience an affluenza characteristic of privileged
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