An Appetite for Metaphor : Food Imagery and Cultural Identity in Indian Fiction

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jennifer Burcham Whitt (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Richard C. 1956- Taylor

Abstract: Postmodern culture has been greatly influenced by food images and the usage of food as metaphor. Recent interest in food studies has opened doors in literary studies to examine how the use of food imagery and metaphor represents complex ideas and deeper meaning in literature. Literary food studies analyzes food symbolism to reflect on cultural identity which includes various issues from social position to sexual desire to gender relations. In three postcolonial Indian novels Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things and Anita Desai's Fasting Feasting food carries multiple meanings that serve to drive the action of the plots characterize the characters and reflect on aspects of the Indian culture. The writers use food and eating to symbolize cultural issues of acceptance resistance and preservation of culture as well as symbols of memory emotions narrative history relationships power and consumption. After examining each novel for its relevance of food images this thesis will conclude by revealing the ways the food metaphors therein reflect directly on the Indian cultural identity as one of political and social fragmentation postcolonial hybridity patriarchal oppression and repressed sexual desire. 

Additional Information

Date: 2011
Literature, Asian Literature, cultural fragmentation, food metaphor, food studies, Oppression, postcolonial hybridity
Food in literature
Food--Symbolic aspects
Food habits in literature
Indian literature
Rushdie, Salman. Midnight's children
Roy, Arundhati. God of small things
Desai, Anita, 1937- Fasting, feasting

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