Use of Food in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

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Search for food, reproduction, sleep; the primal needs for every uni- and multicellular organism is to consume in order to survive and by doing so ensuring the continued existence of its own species. As a consequence, eating and drinking is not only an individual but also a common necessity; it is the basis of a civilization (Keeling 5). But food is more than just nutrition; it can be pleasure or temptation, and the way how or what is consumed is always as well a “mark [for] humankind’s morality” (qtd. in ibid.: 6). Therefore, it is not surprising that the universal experience of food occupies an important place within every culture (Katz 197-8). It was Eve’s lusty bite into an apple that caused, according to Christian belief, the Fall and …show more content…
In fairy-tales, as well as in their medieval oral origins, the lack of food is especially prominent (ibid. 62). In the Brothers Grimm version of Hansel and Gretel, famine is the reason for the woodcutter to abandon his children, but after the witch’s death the siblings find precious jewellery providing enough wealth not to suffer starvation again . Fairy-tales often promised plenty of food to satisfy hunger (ibid. 62-3); a mere fantasy which was supposed to satiate the reader’s appetite in literature since it often could not be satisfied in their everyday life.
But besides the satisfying effect of fictional food, Hansel and Gretel already hints at a more negative approach to food. The siblings are tempted by the witch’s house consisting of bread and sweets. Especially evangelical discourses demanded dieting to resist the temptation of sins like gluttony or sloth (Labbe 94). Also the required dining etiquette of the increasing middle class, as well as the partly lethal food alterations of nineteenth century England, led to a rising number of didactic tales about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ food (ibid. 93). According to Daniel, the detailed and stimulating descriptions of food in children’s literature are a meant to seduce the child reader to “swallow the bitter pill of
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