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: Food and Drink in literature

Food and Drink. These words have always been considered as something

important in our daily life. Everybody likes fresh drinks at summer, warm

drinks at winter. We always care about what were going to serve on our table

to treat ourselves, or our guests. But we hardly ever think about the meaning

of food and drink in the literature, whatever it may be prose or poetry.

So what is the meaning of food in compositions of different authors? How

drinks can show us the point of the poems we read?

To answer these questions I would like to address two authors Anne Frank

and Thomas Moore. I would like to start with analyzing food. For this purpose

I am going to use Anne Franks book The Diary Of A Young Girl. It was 1942

and Germans had invaded. All Jewish people were frightened for their lives

and the Frank family decided to hide. Life was dangerous but they hoped for

the best, until they were finally discovered. This is the diary of Anne

Frank, where she describes all details of living in so-called Secret

Annexe. Of course, the food is included to this description.

First reference to food appears after about a month of hiding. Well, what

about food in the Annexe? A man brings bread every day, a very nice friend of

Mr Kleimans. And weve stored a hundred tins of food here. .weve also

bought three hundred pounds of beans. As days went by, members of Secret

Annexe had fewer opportunities to get food. Every single possibility to get

food encouraged a sense of joy. The Annexe was delighted to hear that we are

all getting an extra quarter pound of butter for Christmas. We are each going

to cook something with butter. Little amount of food encourages a sense of

greed. We are sharing our butter a different way now. Everyone gets their

own piece on their own plate. But its not done right the van Daans make

breakfast for everyone, and give themselves the biggest share of the butter.

Soon the food gets terrible. We have plain bread and coffee not real

coffee for breakfast. We have lettuce or green vegetables, and bad potatoes

and thats all.

When people dont have problems with anything (including food), they dont

seem to worry about that. And it is natural, of course. People dont even

estimate that. Food is just usual thing for them. When we have deficiency of

things, whatever they may be, we act like happy children when we finally have

an opportunity to get it. Yesterday was Dussels birthday. He pretended that

he wasnt interested, but when Miep arrived with a large bag of presents from

his friends, he was as excited as a child! He had chocolate, eggs, butter,

oranges and books. He arranged them on the table and left them there for

three days, the silly old fool! He already has plenty of food. We found

bread, cheese, jam and eggs in his cupboard. He hasnt given us anything, but

weve shared everything with him.

Reading this story we can see how the main character was unhappy about the

food they had to eat. And it is understandable. The food is awful. Lunch

today is potatoes and some very old vegetables out of bottles. They smell

terrible, which is why I have the handkerchief! Weve got to eat them too I

feel sick when I think about it! Half potatoes have gone bad, and we have to

throw them away. If life here was pleasant, the food would not matter so

much. But its the fourth year of the war, and we are all in bad moods.

Here, in last two sentences, we can see that sometimes food doesnt even

matter! Life rules. I guess most of us would prefer good life rather than

good food.

Now one more example of birthday during the war: Today is Mr van Daans

birthday. He received several presents and a cake. The cake wasnt perfect,

because we cant buy the right things to make it with, but it tasted

wonderful anyway!

Food during the war became just a source of getting energy, no more. People

forgot about delicious food, just to treat themselves. In this connection let

us turn to one description of food those terrible days, which shows us all

the details: Im going to describe our food rations: Food is a difficult and

important problem not only for us in the Annexe, but for everyone in Holland,

all of Europe and even further away. Weve lived here for twenty-one months,

and often at any one time there was only one kind of food to eat. For

example, one kind of vegetable or salad. We would eat it with potatoes, in

every possible way that we could think of. But now there are no vegetables

at all. We have potatoes, and brown beans. We make soup we still have some

packets and stores to make dishes which are a little bit more interesting.

But its beans with everything, even in bread. The most exciting moment is

when we eat a thin piece of sausage once a week, and put some jam on our

bread no butter, of course! But were still alive, and much of the time the

food tastes good too.

The last mention of food appears to us when we read about events happening on 5

th of June 1944: The are new problems in the Annexe now. Theres a

quarrel between Dussel and Franks. We cant agree how to share out the butter.

Time during the war was very hard to survive in. We can see it by the reading

this story by Anne Franks. Description of food shows us how much difficult it

was it get it.

Now let us turn on to the theme of Drinks. For this purpose Ive decided to

use compositions of famous Irish poet Thomas Moore. Irish people themselves

like drinking a lot. Nowadays their favorite drink is beer I guess. Having

read some pieces of Moores poetry I understood that it was wine earlier. So

lets now analyze meaning of this drink in the poetry of Thomas Moore.

Come, send round the wine.

Come, send round the wine, and leave points of belief

To simpleton sages, and reasoning fools;

This moment s a flower too fair and brief,

To be withered and stained by the dust of the schools.

Here wine appears as a symbol of enjoyment and lighthearted attitude towards

this life. Author tells us not to be maybe even serious, but just take this

life as it is, not to worry about the future. If we followed this

commandment I think we would live unconcerned about what will happen, until

something would happen! But here Thomas Moore stresses upon brevity of life.

We can find the following idea: dont think about the future, life is too

short, live the present moment, enjoy yourself. Wine has always been a symbol

of joy, but sometimes it can even be a sign of sadness. Here wine certainly

plays part of thing that brings pleasure to man.

Fill the bumper fair.

Fill the bumper fair!

Every drop we sprinkle

Oer the brow of Care

Smooths away a wrinkle.

Wits electric flame

Neer so swiftly passes,

As when thro the frame

It shoots from brimming glasses.

Fill the bumper fair!

Every drop we sprinkle

Oer the brow of Care

Smooths away a wrinkle.

Here the author emphasizes on healing function of wine. People can forget

about all their problems if they drink wine, here it is like medicine, which

help us to recover not from the physical pain, but a spiritual one.

Wrinkle here is a symbol of sadness, worry or disappointment. So wine helps

us to smooth this wrinkle. That means not dealing with the problem, but

just healing the soul for some time. The poet shows us that every time we

feel unhappy we can just fill the bumper fair and all our problems will

leave us, we will be in a good mood. Look, doesnt it solve our problems?

Everybody thinks of his or her own answer. People are different and it

depends whether person wants to leave his problems in the cup with wine, or

just continue solving it till its done.

Take Hence The Bowl (Neapolitan Air)

Take hence the bowl; - tho beaming

Brightly as bowl eer shone,

Oh, it but sets me dreaming

Of happy days now gone.

There, in its clear reflection,

As in a wizards glass,

Lost hopes and dead affection,

Like shades, before me pass.

Each cup I drain brings hither

Some scene of bliss gone by;-

Bright lips too bright to wither,

Warm hearts too warm to die.

Till, as the dream comes oer me

Of those long vanished years,

Alas, the wine before me

Seems turning all to tears!

The meaning of wine here appears different from the two poems before. It

shows us that wine can be not only the symbol of enjoyment, healing the soul,

but also the symbol of sadness, even suffering, I think. It cant be harder

than thinking about the time passed, happy days now gone. Being young,

people try everything this life can bring. They live happy life, spend time

visiting different places, having parties (or balls), drinking wine, and

eating different kinds of food. Yes, youth can afford it. But when the time

for being old comes, all this stuff doesnt bring that joy any more. The only

thing old people have is reminisce.

In this particular poem this reminisce appears to us in kind of sad form. And

this line the wine before me seems turning all to tears! shows us the tears

of nostalgia for old good days.

So, having analyzed some pieces of literature, we can see that the meaning of

food and drink was really important and it played a great role in showing us

the point of these pieces of literature.


2010