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Marian, the main character in The Edible Woman, is a modern, progressive young woman in the 1970s, living with a roommate and holding down a job, while having a casual relationship with her boyfriend Peter. Food is not a real issue for her; she goes out to lunch most days with her colleagues at work. It is not her focus. As soon as Marian accepts Peter's proposal of marriage, her relationship with food changes. She watches her friends being "consumed" by marriage and pregnancy, and realizes that this will be her fate as well, once she and Peter get married. Food begins to repulse her, though she at first doesn't make the connection between her lack of appetite and her apprehension about being devoured by marriage and societal norms. First it's meat, then salad, then she's reduced to canned rice pudding. She can't even enjoy a cake she bought for Peter for Valentine's Day. She loses her appetite as she loses her agency as a single woman. Her relationship with food is tied directly to her relationship with Peter. Once she realizes that she cannot marry him, she begins to return to her old self.
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