The Awakening of Food:Class, Culture, and Plot Organization through Chopin's Use of Food in "The Awakening"

full name / name of organization: 
Victoria Navarro/University of Texas at El Paso

In this analysis of The Awakening, I will be focusing on how the appearance of food and dinning proved to be vital elements in the novel, functioning as much more than an obvious fix for hunger. Outstanding scenes in the work demonstrate the role food has in establishing class, culture, and organizing the plot.Chopin uses food as a way to define social class in The Awakening. I will be showing how food and the preparation of it transcend a deeper understanding of the separation and inclinations of this elevated class. Wealth and socioeconomic statuses are implied in the quantity of food items that are depicted.The culture of the characters is noted from the eagerness they possess when it comes to satisfying their guests with food and drinks. They are a very pleasing culture. They wish to supply their guests with food in order to satisfy them and also to make good impressions. It is the goal of most of the characters to be well liked and thought of in a high manner. Chopin shows how food affects the perception these characters have for one another. Food is a vessel through which they try to achieve this constant need for approval and a positive perception of themselves by others. They aim to please and food serves as the bridge allowing them to do so. The sharing of food is a mark of their cultural identity. The wealthy characters in the novel allow themselves to indulge in only the richest and most luxurious things, and here, they allow themselves to follow their own will, and yield only to satisfy and gratify their inclinations and desires. The sharing of food and its use to create a satisfactory outward appearance marks their cultural identity.
Food and the gathering to consume it play an important role in the organization of the plot. Turning points as well as beginnings and ends of episodes are done so with food as its fork in the road. Food is used in the novel as framework of the plot. Throughout the novel, the entrance of food was evidence for significant events to happen.