Topics for Further Study

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Compare Simpson’s poem to John Ciardi’s poem “Suburban.” How does Ciardi’s poem support or contradict Simpson’s assumptions about the suburbs?

Interview people in your neighborhood about how they perceive their own class status. Does their description of themselves match the way you perceive them? Why or why not?

Class in America is a contentious subject, with some people even claiming that America is a “classless” society. Make a list of the criteria you would use to determine a person’s or a group’s class. How widely do you believe other people share these same criteria?

Do you consider yourself a part of the middle class? Another class? On what do you base your inclusion?

Compare the caste system of India to the class system of America. What similarities and differences do you notice? What does this tell you about your own country?

Write an essay about how the suburbs are depicted in popular films. Consider the movies Edward Scissorhands, Truman, Pleasantville, and Wonderland.

Simpson’s poem suggests that people are born into their class and that there is little hope of changing one’s desires. Write an essay addressing the idea of history as a constraining force.

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