Revenge of the Lawn

“The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but you still have to mow it.” – anonymous


Green as far as the eye can see, stretching off into the horizon, a hazy blur, the sweet smell of wet earth and fresh cut grass, and the sound of accompanying sneezes. This is one of the defining images of the American dream, the lawn, man’s own little patch of paradise to manage. Mark Dery, a freelance journalist and the author of this article, describes the lawn as “suburbia’s shrine to private property and naked self-interest” where “the Lord of the Manor is free to indulge his control-freak tendencies to the fullest, weed-whacking the specters of social chaos into submission, working out his personal issues, as we like to say, with mower and leaf-blower”. In our class, we have discussed the significance of the suburban Levittown home in the American dream. One of the images that accompanies this dream is the moat of green grass surrounded by a white picket fence. In this article, Dery discusses the significance of the lawn in the American dream, its origins in the stately acres maintained by those in the upper classes, the many difficult ways in which we work against the nature to maintain our suburban paradise, and so on. He delves into the cultural myth that is the lawn, exploring its greater significance in the American mythos.