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Bound by Duty

Short story project: Famine by Xu Xi Eveline by James Joyce
by

Emi Mizobuchi

on 14 September 2012

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Transcript of Bound by Duty

Famine by Xu Xi


Eveline by James Joyce Short Story Project Young girl in Dublin oppressed by family
Given the opportunity to leave
Decides to stay EVELINE Eveline sits at her window on the evening of her supposed
departure to Buenos Aires. Joyce sets the bleak tone with
phrases such as "yellowing photographs" and "broken harmonium". Eveline reflects on her love interest in Frank and her oppressive family life, conveyed by Joyce in a stream of consciousness style. Seconds before boarding the ship to her new life, she makes a decision to stay in Dublin. Frank runs past the barrier of the ship and calls for Eveline to come with him. Eveline looks back at Frank, with her eyes giving him "no sign of love or farewell or recognition". Famine The narrator, a 51 year old English teacher native to Hong Kong, "escapes" her hometown just weeks after her parents' death via airplane from Tokyo to New York. The narrator discusses her relationship with food growing up
and her parent's restrictive diet. She arrives at the hotel in New York and remains in her room for 3 days. The narrator decides to have a feast and orders massive
amounts of food from room service, appearing to serve a vast
number of guests. She gorges herself and throws up in a Roman fashion to proceed eating. She imagines herself surrounded by noise and people. The narrator's parents "arrive" at the feast. The narrator acknowledges to her parents (or the visions of them) that she is not like the "lazy cookie man". This subservience to visions of her dead parents indicates that she never really escaped from the bondage of her family. NARRATOR
"I escape"
Nameless narrator of Famine leaves China
headed to New York five weeks after the
death of her parents
"Their deaths ride me of responsibility at last, and I could forfeit my pension and that dreary existence. I am fifty-one and an only child, unmarried. I never expected my parents to take so long to die"
She is bitter, unfeeling, worked as an English teacher and grew up in an impoverished family
Calls her mother A-Ma and father A-Ba
Her parents wanted her to abandon her studies to help support them and she was beaten for going on a hunger strike when her parents threatened to not let her go to secondary school.
She dated a dentist, but her father disapproved because he was fatter than she was.
Very obsessed with the ideas of "famine" and "opulence" and how her family affected her oppression
SUMMARY
Narrator goes to New York
Tells her story in a series of memories
as she is consuming various meals, often realizing with irritation that the flashbacks are distracting her from her food.
It seems that she is bitterly throwing away all the money she never got to spend in her childhood to eat all the food she was also never allowed growing up
She eventually locks herself in her hotel room, ordering room service.
She decides to have a feast and invite everyone she has ever known.
She remarks on the fact that everyone actually came and she eats enough food to feed a dozen people on her on, disgorging between portions with the illusion that an entire party is dining with her.
It ends with her talking to her mother (who is dead) and telling her not to worry because there is enough food now.
Protagonist: A 51-year-old Chinese woman
Antagonist: Her oppressive parents
Conflict: Her overwhelming sense of duty to her parents
How the conflict is resolved: She does not realize that she is crazy, but the reader is able to recognize that her past has driven her to insanity.
What you learn: Children are easily influenced by their parents and the negative effects can be life-long.
Final Paragraph: Still stream of consciousness as she speaks to her dead mother reflecting back on her childhood, the tone melancholy and bittersweet.

Connections:
protagonists are bound by duty to their familial obligations.
left a significant other because of family
have a stream-of-consciousness style of writing
Full transcript