Food Metaphor in Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland

Retno Wulandari

Abstract views = 467 times | downloads = 483 times


As food is now also observed through the lens of social sciences,  the relation of food and literature is inevitable. In diasporic identity, the existence of food as one of the elements that immigrants usually long for is thus unavoidable. This paper discusses the metaphor of food and foodways in the novel The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. Through postcolonial analysis, the results show that food and foodways metaphorically represent nostalgia experienced by the main character. Food also becomes the field of showing identity, and negotiation process which bridges the binary cultural differences. Moreover, Lahiri also implies the metaphor of food as the oppression of women due to the existence of patriarchal values in the old world. Domesticity symbolized through food and foodways puts women in an uneasy situation. Lahiri also parallels the food as the medium of the old and new world: the poor and sufficiency, and the resistance to capitalism.

Keywords : Food, nostalgia, identity, oppression, binary opposition


Food, nostalgia, identity, oppression, binary opposition

Full Text:



Barthes, Roland. 1967. Elements of Semiology. New York: Hill and Wang.

Hall, Stuart. 2003. “Cultural Identity and Diaspora.” Theorizing Diaspora, 233–47.

Holtzman, Jon D. 2006. “Food and Memory.” Annual Review of Anthropology 35: 361–78. /25064929.

Keeling, Kara K, and Scott T Pollard. 2009. Critical Approaches to Food in Children Literature. New York: Routledge. Library Genesis.

Kessler, Brad. 2005. “One Reader’s Digest: Towards a Gastronomy Theory of Literature.” The Kenyon Review. 27 No.2: 148–65.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. 2009. “Rice.” http://www.newyorker. com/magazine/2009/ 11/23/rice-2.

———. 2013. The Lowland. New York: Vintage Book.

———. 2015. “Indian Takeout.”

———. 2016. “Jhumpa Lahiri: ‘I Am, in Italian, a Tougher, Freer Writer.’”

Lyotard, Jean Francois. 1984. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

Mannur, Anita. 2010. Culinary Fiction: Food in South Asian Diasporic Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Montanari, Massimo. 2004. Food Is Culture. New York: Columbia University Press.

Supriyono, J. 2004. “Mencari Identitas Kultur Keindonesiaan.” In Hermeneutika Pascakolonial: Soal Identitas, edited by Mudji Sutrisno and Hendar Putranto, 139–53. Yogyakarta: Kanisius.

Sutton, David E. 2001. Remembrance of Repasts: An Anthropology of Food and Memory. Oxford: Berg.

Vertovec, Steven. 1999. “Three Meanings of ‘Diaspora’, Exemplified among South Asian Religions,” no. University of Oxford: 1–23. /working paper/diaspora.pdf.

Whitt, Jennifer Burcham. 2011. “An Appetite for Metaphor: Food Imagery and Cultural Identity in Indian Fiction.” Master's thesis. East Carolina University.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Retno Wulandari




Free counters!

View Mozaik Stats

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.