By Wenying Xu
The French epicure and gastronome Brillat-Savarin declared, "Tell me what you devour, and that i will let you know who you are." Wenying Xu infuses this thought with cultural-political strength by way of extending it to an ethnic workforce identified for its cuisines: Asian american citizens. She starts off with the final argument that consuming is a way of becoming―not easily within the experience of nourishment yet extra importantly of what we decide to consume, what we will be able to find the money for to consume, what we secretly crave yet are ashamed to devour in entrance of others, and the way we consume. foodstuff, because the most vital medium of site visitors among the interior and outdoors of bodies, organizes, indicates, and legitimates our feel of self and distinguishes us from others, who perform assorted foodways.
Narrowing her scope, Xu finds how cooking, consuming, and foodstuff type Asian American identities when it comes to race/ethnicity, gender, type, diaspora, and sexuality. She offers lucid and knowledgeable interpretations of 7 Asian American writers (John Okada, pleasure Kogawa, Frank Chin, Li-Young Lee, David Wong Louie, Mei Ng, and Monique Truong) and areas those identification concerns within the interesting areas of meals, starvation, intake, urge for food, wish, and orality. Asian American literature abounds in culinary metaphors and references, yet few students have made experience of them in a significant approach. so much literary critics understand alimentary references as narrative ideas or a part of the heritage; Xu takes meals because the significant web site of cultural and political struggles waged within the likely inner most area of wish within the lives of Asian americans.
Eating Identities is the 1st e-book to hyperlink foodstuff to a variety of Asian American matters equivalent to race and sexuality. not like such a lot sociological stories, which middle on empirical analyses of the connection among nutrients and society, it makes a speciality of how foodstuff practices impression mental and ontological formations and therefore contributes considerably to the starting to be box of foodstuff experiences. for college kids of literature, this tantalizing paintings bargains an illuminating lesson on the best way to learn the multivalent meanings of nutrition and consuming in literary texts.
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Additional info for Eating Identities: Reading Food in Asian American Literature
For Naomi there are three mother figures: the mother who is missing; Grandmother Kato, who delivers the “freeing word” in her letters 30 Chapter 1 from Japan; and Obasan, the surrogate mother who raises Naomi and Stephen. As Potter observes, Grandma Kato’s language is that of “the body, of murmurs, gaps, and bliss; of survival, not of power structures” (129). The same can be said of Obasan. These three women constitute the sphere of the maternal in which Naomi is both frustrated and comforted by silence but, more important, sustained by intimacy, nourishment, tenderness, and love.
Yamada (191). Ichiro, uneasy with the too ethnic funeral, becomes aware of the change in his father, feeling “the presence of his father beside him like a towering mass of granite” (193), an image in sharp contrast to the frightened, feeble man, whom Ichiro also describes as “a goddamned, fat, grinning, spineless nobody” (12). With Obasan coming twenty-four years after No-No Boy, Kogawa has the advantage of having witnessed movements against racism and toward ethnic recognition, particularly “the redress movement” of Japanese Americans.
Ichiro cannot form his identity by looking at himself from the place of his mother because she is shattered like a mirror by her madness, her love having been turned into an irrational pride over her and her son’s loyalty to Japan. Okada impresses upon the reader that Ichiro’s mother’s fervent allegiance to the old country splits her American-born son into halves. Ichiro cries, “I don’t understand you who were the half of me that is no more and because I don’t understand what it was about that half that made me destroy the half of me which was American” (16).
Eating Identities: Reading Food in Asian American Literature by Wenying Xu