Portrayal of Social Image

pie chart demonstrating the percentages of social classes, the upper class being the smallest and the middle and working classes the largest
Breakdown of classes in the United States

Social status and money effects the way the other families while on vacation with the Faders as well. The concept of preserving and depicting an image is evident throughout the movie. Growing up as a part of a middle-class family similar to his friends, Lenny is not at all comfortable boasting or putting his wealth on display. Since Lenny is humbler about the amount of money that he makes and the lifestyle that him and his family live, he tries his hardest to conceal or alleviate the advantages that he has that accompanies his wealth. By trying to act like a middle-class family, Lenny hopes to use that status to maintain the connection with his childhood friends and attempting to be more relatable to them. He believes that his kids are spoiled and hopes that their time at the lake surrounded by other children will allow them to stray from their greedy views. Throughout the movie, his friends often mock him about him wealth and how it is so different than how it was when they were younger. Lenny also tells his friends that Rita is a “friend from China” living with them as a foreign exchange student. He forces her to unnecessarily pretend to study all in an effort to avoid the others to find out that she is really a nanny for their children. While Lenny tries to minimize the appearance of his wealth, Eric Lamonsoff attempts to portray himself and his family as members of a higher class than they are in reality. When reuniting with his childhood friends he explains to them how is now a “big boss” and the head of a successful lawn furniture company. He arrives to his coach’s funeral in a convertible Cadillac with his whole family aboard. Towards the end of the movie when the characters start to confess the lies they have told each other, Eric reveals that his is not actually the leader of a large company and that he was actually laid off the previous year. He also admits that the Cadillac was not his own and he rented it to convey the sort of wealth he did not have and to fit the image of a successful business owner. Because of the known prosperity of Lenny, Eric was almost embarrassed to reveal the truth about not having a job. It also could be seen as a source of a competitive edge to be prosperous around other friends that are as well. Linda P. Morton discusses the upper or elite class in her journal article. She talks about how the upper class consists of such a small percentage of the population and describes the lifestyle in which they live. Morton states, “The lower-upper group does buy to impress. They purchase items such as expensive cars, large estates and expensive jewelry to demonstrate their wealth and status” (Morton). This is what Eric was trying to portray to his other friends to try to fit in with their social status. Pretending to have money allowed him to give off a sense of false security and independence, that he struggled to obtain while being unemployed.