Essay on Feminism in My Year of Meats

1431 Words Apr 22nd, 2012 6 Pages
Amanda Shaw English Comp 3
The Message of Meat

Ruth L. Ozeki, in her novel My Year of Meats, utilizes epiphanies in her development of female characters in order to reveal the flaws of a patriarchal society. These epiphanies are employed in order to emphasis that women should take charge over their lives and to not be constrained to keeping secrets as a result of their fear of repercussion. Ozeki presents a vision of a progressive, feminist global community through her characters Akiko and Bunny. While Bunny realizes her need to voice her concerns having “drifted through life… never [having] made a single decision, (p. 294)” Akiko realizes she does not need to depend on a man and that “she would never need him again (p.181)”. In
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Joichi “John” Ueno desperately wants a son at all costs, and he believes that eating more red meat will enable Akiko to bear his child. Each week, John compels her to consume both the visual and culinary content of My American Wife in hopes that the show will transform Akiko into the type of fertile and plump American wife he admires. As Jane films programs that diverge from what John considers to be proper images of American women and American meat, he grows emotionally and physically abusive toward Akiko. Eventually her husband brutally beats and rapes. This struggle burdens her psychologically and physically and it is not until she realizes that she no longer needs him that she can finally conceive a child. Akiko does not realize this until she watches the lesbian episode of My American Wife, where Dyann (one of the wives) states, “Even when I was very, very small I knew I never wanted to be with a man…Never wanted a man, never wanted to get married to a man or have his children. I knew it was then that I was as little as these babies are here” (p.180). Akiko beings to come to a self-realization beginning to have, “…tears of pity for herself, for the trepidation she felt in place of desire and for the pale, wan sentiment that she let pass for love” (p.181). Ozeki makes use of Akiko’s as a representation of the vulnerability and oppression of women. In the novel, Akiko symbolizes the aspect of society that senses the unauthencity and untruthfulness around her but

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