In "Chocolat" what are the arguments (points) about how Vianne relate to the world through the food?

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chocolat, Vianne has the ability to guess what everyone's "favorite" sweet treat is in her chocolaterie.  Through this gift, she is able to entice the members of this French (and conservatively Catholic) town to sit down for a few moments in the week, and talk.  As she gets to know her regular customers, she begins to develop more intimate and personal relationships with them.  Because of her seeming ability to see into their souls (with the correct guesses at their "favorites") they tend to open up to her with problems and worries.

It becomes Vianne's unspoken goal throughout the novel, to bring certain characters out of themselves through offering them a chance to sit and taste something sweet, and talk.

Other prominent scenes in the novel revolve around great parties with lots of well planned food, music, and conversation.  It is as if in this town, where a harsh priest condemns and convicts his parishoners of gluttony (at worst) and promotes fasting as a means of purifying the soul - on a weekly basis no less - that everyone is living in the delicate balance of pleasure and guilt.  Vianne attempts to show the town that pleasure (symbolized by her chocolate confections) is not in fact sinful - but rather a healthy avenue to real healing of the soul.

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Chocolat

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