Feed on

This was my favorite story that we have read during this class, which is funny because it is one of the shortest and simplest pieces, yet I felt it was so deep and touched upon multiple points which I found interesting. The story was about a fat man who came into the restaurant this woman was working at, and the reactions that multiple people had to him. At least that is what I thought it was about at first. As I read and re-read it however, I now feel that it is more about how the way we view and speak about others s only a reaction of ourselves. The woman whose eyes we saw the fat man through was kind to him the entire time, but while recounting the story to her friend was so incredibly shocked by his size she kept making little comments about it. The part that I found to be the most telling about her character was at the very end when she was telling the same friend how when she and Rudy are having sex at the end of the day she feels that she is “terrifically fat, so fat that Rudy is a tiny thing and hardly there at all.” Also, she makes a comment to the fat man when she is bringing him his  desert and he apologizes for eating so much, that she wishes that she could gain (weight). Eating disorders are never explicitly mentioned within this piece, but there are many parts that point the reader in that direction both in regards to the fat man and the woman. The fat man (I absolutely hate using that phrase but I don’t know what else to call him since this is what he has been dehumanized down to), quite obviously has a binge eating disorder which is what led him to gain such an incredible amount of weight. The woman seems to struggle with at the very minimum, body dysmorphia. These two characters seem to be connected in the unhealthy habits they have and the negative light they view themselves in, which broke my heart so much to read. The woman goes home at the end of the day miserable, miserable with herself and it seems the life she has made for herself. We don’t get to see what happens to the man after he leaves the restaurant, but I assume by the way he kept apologizing for himself and the way he ate that he’s sad in his life and with himself as well. In regards to self-control the audience can see that the man lacks control over his eating habits. He is very aware of it and seems to be quite embarrassed by it, but he can not bring himself to stop. The woman even defends him to a coworker at one point saying that he cannot help his eating and his weight. What was fascinating for me about this story was getting to see the two extremes of unhealthy eating side by side without ever being directly given a label. The audience got to see how the feelings surrounding eating disorders seem to be the same at both ends of the spectrum, and the shame and negative views of the self are very present in each case. The story also sends the message that we tend to want the opposite of what we have, which is displayed when the woman is telling the man that she eats and eats and can’t gain weight, and the man tells her he says that he wishes he had a choice, because this wouldn’t be his. Have I mentioned that this broke my heart? This story was so beautiful and raw, and went about discussing these issues in a way that was not in the audiences face, but still made it’s point beautifully.

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