In the poem The Rich Eat Three Full Meals by Nguyen Binh Khiem what societal problems does the speaker acknowledge and what are "Heaven's heaped up favours"?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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"The Rich Eat Three Full Meals" opens with a stark view of poverty versus wealth, measured in terms of meals consumed.  The poet, Nguyen Binh Kheim, draws the reader in with this contrast between rich and poor, acknowledging the harsh separation between social classes.  Kheim uses amount of food consumed as a poignant metaphor, revealing his point of view that the difference between rich and poor is not just about materialistic goods, but really basic needs--the poor only have "two small bowls;" people are going hungry. 

Despite their hunger and suffering due to poverty, Kheim reveals that the poor can still find peace and enjoy "heaven's heaped up favors" by turning to the natural world.  Nature, according to the speaker of the poem, is the great equalizer between rich and poor.  In the natural world, all are wealthy, enjoying the riches of "the mountains and rivers all around" with a "damask, embroidered, the grass."  Both the rich and poor can enjoy the natural world and its many blessings equally.


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