Food in Anthills of the Savannah and Bones

Molly Yancovitz '98, English 27, Brown University, Autumn 1997

Underlying the importance of narrative as a mode of resistance against oppressive powers are the tools with which the storyteller unites her audience. What cues incite a sense of community, belonging, common experience and need? What is the lifeblood of the society? Food. It is food that drives people to action. Why are we not lazy? We need to eat. Food is the basis of survival. For a society, food is nourishment. Yet food provides other fundamental services to the society. It establishes community. It defines place -- what can grow, and when. It defines people, who must unite to harvest, work, prepare, and ultimately, to eat. Eating is nourishing, and eating is socializing. Communal time. Common manners, common dishes. What does everyone in a community understand? Food. Food is culture.

Food is used to illustrate a speaker's point. The applicability of food as an analogy in any situation denotes its centrality within the culture of the orator. How better to ensure that your audience will understand your point than to evoke an image that all can relate to? Anthills of the Savannah employs food imagery to highlight issues of class and gender. Chenjerai Hove also incorporates food imagery in Bones, both as an illustration of gender relations and as an opposition to the intrusion of colonial culture.

Postcolonial Web Nigeria OV Achebe OV Anthills OV Bones  Overview Zimbabwe OV