The author of the story begins by a short comparison of how life used to be when people would raise or manufacture in their own households. This, according to him, was a source of pride and a sign of a better country since people would have everything needed for domestic consumption. He gives a broad comparison of the city life and the country life, and how people especially women have grown an attraction for the city with a growing hatred of the country life even though they were brought up in the country. Although the city poses a great potential in terms of development, men especially the older ones, cling to the country life because they consider it to be better than the city life.
The city’s principal attraction as Frederick Olmsten puts it is its appealing lifestyle. He mentions the city’s furniture, viand and conversation as appealing. According to Frederick, the city has the presence of jobs, for example, he points out that the farmer’s son is in the law office. There are schools and colleges in the city as the other farmer’s son is in college and the daughter is in an institute. A lot of change is realized when one leaves the country side, especially at the rail station; this is evident by lots of advertisements at the railway station.
The people in town are more informed than the people in the country; for example, the people in the country believe that a piano in the village can only be tuned by a person from the city. The city is densely populated than the country hence it is seen as a primary source of cheap labor to the country, the poorest and jobless servants in the city move to the country to work and get back to the city when they earn some money. The city has a reliable and accessible supply of goods and services; measurements of outgrown baby shoes are sent to town since the countryside does not have a reliable supply of the shoes, also an appointment has to be placed via telegraph to see the dentist in case of dental problems.
Frederick finds the town appealing to women since he believes that women have a greater potential in shaping the course of civilization in the city. Their tastes and personalities are strong as compared to men in relation to city life. Women are more vulnerable to the town drift as compared to men. The author points out that a woman would prefer a poor city life to a good country life, whereby men prefer the opposite. He points out a lady who has been brought up in one of the convenient and greener parts of the united States of America for the larger part of her life; vowing that she would rather starve in town than going back to live in the country, although she is offered one of the best farm as a condition of going back to the country.
Men, in general, prefer to stay in the country than in the city, they consider the occupations in the country more attractive than those in the city. As a rule, people especially women view the city life with pleasure and with good things as compared to country life whereby facilities such as the presence of schools, libraries, music, as well as fine arts, are not available in the country. City life is seen to be more civilized and decent. It is viewed to be more accessible due to short distances when going to places; it has clean pathways and better lighting at night. Shops are easily accessed and there is a variety of people as compared to country life.