Food in Literature Criticism: Women's Relationship With Food - Essay

Janice Jaffe (essay date March 1993)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Hispanic American Women Writers' Novel Recipes and Laura Esquivel's Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate),” in Women's Studies, Vol. 22, No. 2, March, 1993, pp. 217-30.

[In the following essay, Jaffe studies the symbol of the kitchen in Esquivel's novel, contending that it serves as a mode for women's creativity as well as a means to promote female solidarity.]

During the same era that inspired the suspicion of women's activities in the kitchen cited in my epigraph,1 the Mexican nun Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz boldly celebrates the phenomena of the kitchen as worthy of philosophical observation:


(The entire section is 5846 words.)

Tracy Brain (essay date 1995)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Figuring Anorexia: Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman,” in Literature Interpretation Theory, Vol. 6, No. 3-4, 1995, pp. 299-311.

[In the following essay, Brain theorizes that Atwood uses anorexia in her novel as a means to explore women's strategies for developing alternative languages.]

In her novel The Edible Woman, written in 1965 and published in 1969, Margaret Atwood prefigures contemporary debate about the eating disorder anorexia nervosa. Though the word anorexia is never used in the text, Atwood examines the condition and its meanings with a sophistication rarely equalled in subsequent discussions of the illness. Atwood uses anorexia...

(The entire section is 7146 words.)

Emma Parker (essay date Fall 1995)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “You Are What You Eat: The Politics of Eating in the Novels of Margaret Atwood,” in Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 41, No. 3, Fall, 1995, pp. 349-68.

[In the following essay, Parker contends that eating is a political act in Atwood's novels, denoting power and control over one's body.]

While literature is suffused with scenes of men eating, there is a conspicuous absence of images of women engaged in the same activity. Margaret Atwood displays a sensitive awareness of how images of women eating have been suppressed and erased. She remarks, “I think I first connected literature with eating when I was twelve and reading Ivanhoe: there was Rebecca, shut...

(The entire section is 8499 words.)

Giuliana Giobbi (essay date March 1997)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “‘No Bread Will Feed My Hungry Soul’: Anorexic Heroines in Female Fiction—from the Example of Emily Bronte as Mirrored by Anita Brookner, Gianna Schelotto and Alessandra Arachi,” in Journal of European Studies, Vol. 27, No. 1, March, 1997, pp. 73-92.

[In the following essay, Giobbi traces the relevance and meaning of anorexia in the novels of four women novelists.]

We're hungry.
Hungry! But it's pitiful
To wail like unweaned babes and suck our thumbs
Because we're hungry. Who, in all this world
(Wherein we are haply set to pray and fast
And learn what good is by its opposite),
Has never hungered? Woe to him who has found
The meal enough! (…)

(The entire section is 8413 words.)

Sarah Sceats (essay date 2000)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Food of Love: Mothering, Feeding, Eating and Desire,” in Food, Consumption and the Body in Contemporary Women's Fiction, Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 11-32.

[In the following essay, Sceats draws connections among mothers, food, and love, briefly examining the use of these motifs in the works of a variety of women authors.]

Food is a currency of love and desire, a medium of expression and communication. The crucial centrepiece of Christian worship is a simulated meal—the giving of symbolic bread and wine as a token of love and trust—and in most religions ritual communicative eating of some sort is prominent. From infants' sticky offerings...

(The entire section is 9252 words.)