Directions: Read the following essay (click on site to access), then answer the corresponding questions>
NOTE: You may need to print the article (20 pages).
Food Imagery in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife
According to the article, what is the purpose of food imagery in the novel?
The article sites K.C. Chang’s book Food in Chinese Culture by stating, “they [Chinese people] inevitably use food…to help speak the language that constitutes a part of every social interaction”. How is this idea apparent in the Joy Luck Club?
“This paper is going to discuss not only Tan’s use of food, but other alimentary images related: the meal, the table, the kitchen, the cook, the feeder, and the fed”.
Copy down ALL the definitions of alimentary (include the part of speech):
What do you find interesting about the definitions? Hint: The definition that does not include food!
According to the article, who are the feeders and who are the fed?
How does Tan use food to enrich characterization? (Part II)
Tan uses food metaphorically throughout her writing to “ ‘describe people, landscape, and emotion’”. Choose a person, landscape or emotion in your life to describe metaphorically in relation to food. (Part II)
How does Tan use food to delineate power relations between the feeder and the fed? (Part III)
In part III of the article, it is stated that Lindo manipulates her daughter (Waverly) with food. How does Lindo use food to manipulate Waverly?
In part III, it is stated that “The power of food is also explicit in mother/daughter relationships.” How does Tan use food illuminate the relationship between Suyuan and Jing-Mei?
How does Tan use food to portray American-born daughters’ ambiguous cultural identity? (Part IV)
In your opinion, are the daughters telling their mothers stories or are they telling their own? (Part IV)
“Since the daughters are not able to eat real Chinese food, real reconciliation between mothers and daughters is unlikely to happen.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
Is it possible to achieve “the best combination: American circumstances and Chinese character”? Support your answer with details from the test or from personal life experiences.
Into Group Activity: Now that you understand the importance of food imagery in the novel, read & discuss the following articles that discuss the importance of food in Chinese culture. Then, as a group, choose a recipe that your group can easily cook together over the weekend. You can use the sites below to help you or you can choose a dish that you are already familiar with (i.e., egg rolls). Each group must sign-up with me for approval and to ensure there are no overlaps between groups.
NOTE: Ideally, groups should try to choose dishes that either mentioned in the novel or authentic to the culture. Some dished that are mentioned in the novel include rice, wontons, wonton soup, chow mein, chaswei (sweet barbeque pork), dim sum, dumplings, rice noodle dishes, and skin soup (just kidding!) – red bean soup.