Mermaid Fever Analysis

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After reading “Mermaid Fever,” the statement that I think this essay makes about societal attitudes is that people will react and behave very strangely to anything that is out of the ordinary. The narrator bases his essay on a public beach, located in a small town in Connecticut, and out of the blue, this teenage girl’s body was washed up under the tide line one summer night. After extensive scientific tests and examinations on the body, the news finally broke out that the girl was a mermaid. The girl was soon transferred to a local museum in town where she would be put on a glass display that will be open to the public. This news brought the whole city together, and people waited in line for hours just to observe this fond discovery. Most women and teenage girls loved the idea of the mermaid that it grew into a new trend of fashion. Their obsession over this new trend even encouraged them to walk on beaches with mermaid suits and their breast exposed to male voyeurs. Millhauser wanted to justify to his readers that this societal attitude the people had on the creature can get out of hand and lead to madness and instability within the town. For example, a fourteen-year-old girl was assaulted at a party by some high school girls, painted her hips down a green, bound at the ankles and tossed into her into a stream. The first direct question Millhauser asks in the essay was “What was it we were looking for?”. He was trying to ask his readers the reasons the people of the town

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