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By William R. Dalessio

During the last 40 years, scenes that prominently function acts of getting ready and consuming meals have stuffed the pages of novels and memoirs written by way of American immigrants and their descendants simply because those writers remember the fact that consuming is greater than a in simple terms organic functionality yet, as a substitute, works to outline who we're within the usa and in a foreign country. Are We What We devour? severely analyzes 8 of those items of ethnic American literature, which show the real position that cooking and consuming play within the means of identification formation. With the becoming scholarly and renowned pursuits in meals and ethnicity within the usa, Are We What We devour? is a well timed research of meals in literature and tradition. to this point, a lot of the scholarship on cooking and consuming in ethnic American literature has fascinated about a selected ethnic team, yet has no longer tested, in any extensive manner, the similarities one of the various ethnic and racial teams that include American tradition. Are We What We consume? offers a cross-cultural research that considers the typical stories between a number of ethnic cultures and, while, acknowledges the several ways in which each one tradition was once (and every so often, nonetheless is) marginalized through the dominant American one. With research that's articulate and obtainable to so much, Are We What We devour? could be an illuminating learn for all who're drawn to nutrition, ethnicity, or gender in American tradition.

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Extra info for Are We What We Eat? Food and Identity in Late Twentieth-Century American Ethnic Literature

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Helen’s sexual encounters with Grover, however, do not satisfy her physically or emotionally: “Sometimes while [Grover] touched her, she thought how much she’d enjoy him once he’d left…. Grover was always satisfied; she was the one who, with time, wanted” (American 214, 217). Helen’s acts of food consumption allow her to transgress her prescribed gender role of servitude and self-sacrifice, but her affair with Grover in some ways reinforces the ideals of traditional femininity. 40 ARE WE WHAT WE EAT?

Theresa, however, rejects Grover’s advances and refuses to become an object of Grover’s sexual consumption. Although Theresa works to fulfill her individual desires, she strives to uphold the Confucian values of hsaio and ti, filial piety and fraternal love: She was in many ways Americanized, but in this respect she was Chinese still—when the family marched, she fell in step. And wasn’t this what she longed for? Reunification, that Chinese ideal, she could not eat an orange without reciting to herself, as she did at New Year’s, quan jia tuan yuan—the whole family together.

Furthermore, whereas Ralph strives for upward mobility and assimilation, Alejo tries to make the best of his situation as a working-class and ethnic (not fully “American”) male. As Hijuelos illustrates Alejo’s acts of food preparation, he demonstrates the important role that context plays in the process of culinary signification. While Alejo and his male coworkers prepare food, they tell stories of “sex, gambling, and card games” (Hijuelos 59), activities that the ethnic and dominant American patriarchies would regard as masculine.

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