Feed on

In the story “Fat” by Raymond Carver, the waitress talks about a man who came into her restaurant. He is only referred to by his weight and the waitress makes a comment about his speech. “He has this way of speaking – strange, don’t you know” (Carver, 64). This is then dropped as if it were unimportant, but his language is unique and seems important to the story. The “we” may be used as a way to shift blame from the fat man. If he claims that there is another part of him, it isn’t all his fault for being the weight he is. When he is talking, he speaks as if he has never referred to himself otherwise. It almost seems like second nature for him to say “we.” This is similar to The Vegetarian because Yeong-hye doesn’t say she is doing it for herself. She says it’s because of the cruelty towards the animals we eat. Both characters are shifting the blame onto other objects or ideas. The fat man shifts blame to another being, and Yeong-hye shifts blame to a dream. Both stories and characters have an obvious connection to food. The fat man overeats, choosing anything he wants on the menu. However, Yeong-hye denies food and nutrition that her body needs. We know the reason Yeong-hye stopped eating meat, which was, “I thought it was all because of eating meat… I thought all I had to do was to stop eating meat and then the faces wouldn’t come back. But it didn’t work… But I’m not scared anymore.” (Kang,) Unfortunately, we do not find out enough about the fat man to get a reason for his overeating, much less why he speaks in first person plural. Shifting blame is not uncommon in real life, which makes the characters more relatable and realistic. We, as humans, don’t like to accept our faults or do things without reason. We create reasons or something to blame when those around us don’t agree. Yeong-hye and the fat man have their similarities and differences. These two characters are different in terms of their food choices, but are connected through the same thing that separates them.

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