Food in Literature Criticism: Food As A Literary Device - Essay

Minrose Gwin (essay date Winter 1984)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Mentioning the Tamales: Food and Drink in Katherine Anne Porter's Flowering Judas and Other Stories,” in Mississippi Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 1, Winter, 1984-85, pp. 44-57.

[In the following essay, Gwin discusses food related visual images and how they are used in Porter's short stories, noting that the rich descriptions enhance the realism of Porter's writing.]

Many efforts have been made to penetrate what Eudora Welty has called, with deliberate contradiction, “the eye” of Katherine Anne Porter's fictional art.1 Welty finds this “eye”—the penetrating vision of Porter's stories—to be interior, subjective, and nonsensory. Yet,...

(The entire section is 3351 words.)

Charles G. Whiting (essay date June 1988)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Food and Drink in Shepard's Theater,” in Modern Drama, Vol. 31, No. 2, June, 1988, pp. 175-83.

[In the following essay, Whiting analyzes the use of food and drink in the staging of Shepard's plays, theorizing that they are significant contributors to setting the mood in various scenes.]

Half of Sam Shepard's published plays have food or drink onstage at or very near the beginning, and in at least half of his plays food and drink play an important role. Except perhaps for lobster in Cowboy Mouth and tequila in the same play and in Fool for Love, these are always very ordinary comestibles, but never are they used by Shepard merely to achieve an...

(The entire section is 4393 words.)

Carol E. Dietrich (essay date Summer/Fall 1991)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Raw and the Cooked: The Role of Fruit in Modern Poetry,” in Mosaic, Vol. 24, No. 3-4, Summer/Fall, 1991, pp. 127-44.

[In the following essay, Dietrich examines the use of the fruit metaphor in modern poetry.]

Claude Lévi-Strauss once proposed that some foods are chosen not because they are “good to eat” but because they are “good to think” (Totemism 89). Indeed, when we think about food, we are often ambivalent in our conception of the moral status of eating and drinking. On the one hand, ingestion supplies the imagery of our largest and most intense experiences: we speak of the wine of life and the cup of life; we speak also of its...

(The entire section is 7407 words.)

Linda Underhill and Jeanne Nakjavani (essay date Summer 1992)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Food for Fiction: Lessons from Ernest Hemingway's Writing,” in Journal of American Culture, Vol. 15, No. 2, Summer, 1992, pp. 87-90.

[In the following essay, Underhill and Nakjavani present an overview of Hemingway's use of food and related imagery in his novels.]

More than any other American writer, Ernest Hemingway inspired the lifestyle of “living it up to write it down.” He traveled the world, drove an ambulance in World War II, boxed, married four times, hunted big game in Africa and big fish in the Gulf Stream. In general, he sampled most of what life had to offer, including the food and drink of many nations. He conveyed his experiences through...

(The entire section is 3163 words.)