Just like in real life

Just like in real life, eating in stories and books can mean more than just eating. In “I’m not your Perfect Mexican daughter” stopping to eat a meal together happens in almost every scene. Looking further into what meals can represent, there is conclusive evidence they could represent communion or the breaking of bread.  Communion does not just have one meaning, it can mean multiple different things such as the religious observance, a meal shared with a family or an intimate relationship. Webster’s dictionary defines communion as “intimate fellowship or rapport”. While communion may have separate meanings. In Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter food is a scarcity. Julia the main character of the book and her family are living below the poverty line and they struggle to keep food in the refrigerator. Sitting down to enjoy food with her family brings both happiness and anxiety to Julia. Throughout the book Julia finds herself eating alone, having an occasional meal with her boyfriend, sitting at her family’s dingy dining room table having dinner, and having a very important conversation over a grilled cheese and apple juice. Julia really enjoys her food, she often describes the smells and taste in the book,but after her sister dies things get serious and food becomes the only normal thing in Julia’s life. Just like in real life, eating in stories and books can mean more than just eating. In “I’m not your Perfect Mexican daughter” stopping to eat a meal together happens in almost every scene. Looking further into what meals can represent, there is conclusive evidence they could represent communion or the breaking of bread.  Communion does not just have one meaning, it can mean multiple different things such as the religious observance, a meal shared with a family or an intimate relationship. Webster’s dictionary defines communion as “intimate fellowship or rapport”. While communion may have separate meanings. In Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter food is a scarcity. Julia the main character of the book and her family are living below the poverty line and they struggle to keep food in the refrigerator. Sitting down to enjoy food with her family brings both happiness and anxiety to Julia. Throughout the book Julia finds herself eating alone, having an occasional meal with her boyfriend, sitting at her family’s dingy dining room table having dinner, and having a very important conversation over a grilled cheese and apple juice. Julia really enjoys her food, she often describes the smells and taste in the book,but after her sister dies things get serious and food becomes the only normal thing in Julia’s life. To begin with, Julia starts out her story, Olga Julia’s older sister dies. Shortly following For Julia food is a scarcity. She mentions several times about how poor her family is and when she opens, she often mentions how there is nothing but eggs, tortillas and beans. After Olga died Julia is left to fend for herself. Julia tries to be a good daughter and make beans but it did not turn out so well “A few days ago I tried to make beans, but they never softened, even though I boiled them for three hours” (Sanchez 12). Julia does not have great cooking skills and finds that when she has to fend for herself she is left feeling empty not only physically but emotionally. Eating is something that connects people emotionally, people like to be close to others over a shared form of interest. Food is something humans can’t live without and it becomes the center of many conversations. Weeks after Olga’s death Julia’s mother is still not paying her any attention. Julia scraps up as much money as possible and comes up with four dollars and twenty-five cents. Taking this money Julia finds herself at a taco shop close to her apartment. Julia feels uneasy about eating alone “They probably think I am a loser for eating alone” (Sanchez 15). Eating alone is something people all over the world feel weird about. Food is meant to be a shared experience and it can feel intimidating to sit alone in a restaurant full of happy people sharing food with one another. Food is something that is meant to be enjoyed by people with a group, in fact food is something so intimate and pleasurable that it often stirs up and emotions like “The overwhelming message of loyalty, kinship, and generosity” (Foster 11). Julia feels she is missing out on something when she eats alone. Julia wants someone to break bread with and someone to talk to while she eats her food. After several months of trying to get her life back on track after her sister's tragic death, Julia meets a boy at a local bookstore. After exchanging several words he asks her something that makes her stomach flip “How about some coffee”(Sanchez 173). Thinking this could be the start to something more Julia agrees. Coffee is a way for people to take a moment out of their busy lives and sit down and breathe. Coffee dates are also sometimes the beginning to a lifelong love story. In this book coffee is used in a way it connects the two lovers together. As they sit and watch the other people around them, they can talk about things they like and events that have happened in their lives. How to Read Literature Like A Professor describes such a thing like this as “I want to be with you, you want to be with me, let us share the experience”(Foster 10). Having the coffee and the conversation draws the two into what becomes a relationship built on something as small as a cup of java. Julia’s boyfriend, Conner, takes her to get chocolate when she is on her period and does not feel good. Food in this sense does not only have a bonding role, but it is also used to help sooth the pain of a period. Conner is the one to ask Julia which one she wants saying she could have “Artisanal and pesticide free if that’s what you want” (Sanchez 192). This shows that Conner has grown attached to Julia and really cares about her personal wants and needs. Food has a way of bringing people closer together, people do not invite people they  hate to a dinner party. In How to Read Literature like a Professor it states, “We are particular about the people we break bread with, we for instance may not accept a dinner invitation from someone we hate” (Foster 9). It takes a special bond between two people to enjoy food together, there are certain people that come to mind first when picking the guest for a dinner party, that is perfectly normal.Towards the end of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Julia discovers a truth about her sister that rocks her world. While trying to figure out more about her mysterious sibling she finds herself in a dinner with a man that could give her all the answers. Over a simple grilled cheese sandwich and apple juice, Julia finally gets the answers she has been waiting for. As the conversation escalated Julia continues to eat her food “What did your last text say? I take a bite of my sandwich”(Sanchez 312). Food has a way of being many things all at once. It can be something we turn to when emotions get the best of us or it can be used to break bad news or likewise with good news. In Julia’s case it was a way of delivering the bad news. How to read Literature Like a Professor mentions “Anne Tyler’s Diner at the Homesick Ranch…. The meal they share is symbolically hers” (Foster 11). Much like in the example provided, the meal that Julia and the man share it is symbolically representing the closure of her sister's death. Even though they both do not partake in the meal, they still sit together and have a deep conversation over drinks. Eating or drinking while talking has a way of deepening the connection between people and allowing them to be more open with the things they say. Just as she realized a truth with the man at the cafe, Julia discovers a truth about her relationship while sharing fries with Connor. Before either Julia or Connor moves away for college, they share a snack at a festival, “We share a giant plate of greasy fries at a picnic table by the stage” (Sanchez 323). While sitting there sharing the fries, Julia wonders about the future, she can then bring herself back to the present with the delicious taste of the fries. Much like James Joyce’s story  “The Dead”  the author of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter sheds light on the meal and the surroundings of the meal. It gives the reader a glimpse and feel of what is happening not only internally but also externally. How to read Literature Like a Professor states “No writer ever took such care about food and drinks” (Foster 11). This refers to the fact that most of the time writers give little mind to the food and drinks the characters are sharing. However, the author and the reader should pay close attention to the meals shared, because they really might have a deeper meaning. Meals of any kind can hold special meanings, be the source of happiness, sadness, or they may be the barrier of news. At every gathering where food is moved there is always a deeper more sentimental meaning. In I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Julia finds that with every little thing she does there is food involved. Some occasions are happy and joyful, while others are rather drab and depressing. Just like in real-life characters can build a connection over food that can lead to more long-lasting relationships. Sometimes it’s not only about the food, but the memories that come with it or the people you share it with. Food can also be symbolic of communion, giving it a more spiritual presence when shared with others. Food will always be more than just food. Authors write about meals and the scenes in which they are set to give readers an insight on just what is happening and to help strengthen the bond between characters.