Roles Of Food In Literature

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This paper examines the use of food as a motif in Indian Literature focusing on three contemporary short stories that have used ‘food longing’ to articulate the experience of marginalisation and oppression that the characters undergo. In all three texts, the characters desire a particular food item that is not accessible to them – either because of inaccessibility or prohibition. Thus food in the three stories becomes metaphoric of their experiences as well as the source of their resistance of the hegemonic structures of caste and gender that seek to keep them in their place.
Keywords: Food as symbol, resistance, marginalization, identity
Food is an important aspect of our life, especially in a nation like India where poverty and hunger are an intrinsic part of existence for many. Food has won and lost elections, been the reason for cultural and religious violence and has been a part of government agendas. Therefore it can be safely concluded that food plays an important role in society and exists more than just as a matter of sustenance. It is a symbol and moves beyond the function of physical nourishment.

It is an essential part of death rites as well as marriage. It has been the reason for battles and colonization. And since the primary purpose of literature is to ‘represent’ the world around, food and the written word have been closely related. Writers often use food as a rhetorical and/or metaphorical device to represent the ‘abstract internal and difficult to express
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