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Title: Magic Food and Motherhood: Negotiating Power in Female Culinary Fictions
Authors: Naomi Monisha Lourdesamy
Issue Date: 13-Nov-2017
Citation: Naomi Monisha Lourdesamy (2017-11-13). Magic Food and Motherhood: Negotiating Power in Female Culinary Fictions. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This paper aims to explore women’s interactions with power, specifically (i) how women are impacted the patriarchy and its intersections with other systems of oppression, and (ii) how women, in turn, respond, through compliance and/or resistance. It looks at female culinary fictions, a genre that privileges female experience within the domestic realm, focusing on Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances and Home Remedies (1989), Chocolat: A Novel (1999) and Sugarbread: A Novel (2016). The three novels pay significant attention to the role of food in women’s lives and the relationship between mothers and daughters. “Alterity and Orality” deals with the way power structures marginalise and, thus, silence the novels’ female protagonists. It then reads food as women’s tool for creative expression and to facilitate communication, analyses why food so easily becomes a substitute language, and assesses how it enables women to liberate themselves. “Maternity Under Patriarchy” examines how women may turn to motherhood as the only means of power they can access, given their limited space within the patriarchy, or subvert this altogether, by surveying how the two pairs of mother-daughter relationships in each novel affect each other. Synthesising the previous two chapters, the paper concludes with a final remark on how women should empower themselves, their daughters and their communities – by embracing their own alterity and that of others, through the use of the oral, i.e. food and language, which the novels depict as the best way of negotiating power.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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