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The Role of Food in Times of War

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Date Submitted:
01/28/2010 06:29 AM
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Food means different things to people in different countries of the world; pasta is common in Italy, hamburgers are a favorite in the US and tacos are a typical dish in Mexico.   Human existence solely depends on this source of energy.   A person’s fundamental need for food makes it a very important item, placing the people who control the food in a very high esteem.   Consistency is also important in the delicate balance of life.   Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet in the Western Front, and Elie Wiesel, author of Night, both use food in their novels to convey this idea.   Many of their thoughts and “meanings” concerning food paralleled one another.   Food, one of the quintessential elements of life, plays a significant role in wartime experiences around the world and even in different time periods.              


Food is essential to basic life.   It provides people with the energy to think, speak, walk, talk, and breathe.   In preparation for the Jews deportation from the ghettos of Transylvania, “the (Jewish) women were busy cooking eggs, roasting meat, and baking cakes”(Wiesel, 13).   The Jewish families realized how crucial food was to their lives even before they were faced with the daily condition of famine and death in the concentration camps.   The need for food was increased dramatically with the introduction of the famine-like conditions of the camps.   Wiesel admitted that, although he was incredibly hungry, he had refused to eat the plate of thick soup they served to the prisoners on the first day of camp because of his nature of being a “spoiled child”.   But his attitude changed rapidly as he began to realize that his life span was going to be cut short if he continued to refuse to eat the food they served him.   “By the third day, I (Elie Wiesel) was eating any kind of soup hungrily” (Wiesel, 40).   His desire to live superseded his social characteristic of being “pampered”.   Remarque...
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