Analysis of poem 'Eat Me' by Patience Agbabi

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Poet : Patience Agbabi

  • known for her writing :blurring the boundaries between 'peforemance 'poet and 'page 'poet
  • many other boundaries , including racial and sexual
  • born in London in 1965 ( Nigerian but fostered by a white English family in Wales)
  • she has a fasination for traditional poetic forms and the use of personae to explore her themes 
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Title ' Eat ME'

  • Intertexuality : Alice in Wonderand ( goes back to dramatic monologue in this famous book, where Alice eats a cake that has 'eat me' written on it in smarties and gets bigger
  • invitation to eat 
  • poem explores relationship between overweight women and a feeder who are stuck in a dysfunctional relationship
  • he may have a fettish 
  • the poem is not  purely a sexual one but also speaks of the physical and emotional dependancy of the eater on the feeder 
  • the feeder may be  insecure /  feeding the  women in the poem is an emotional crutch for man 
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'When I hit thirty , he brought me a cake' - first

  • may be a reference to her age or weight
  • it is therefore  a little ambigous 
  • this opening line introduces to us the subject of the poem 
  • next line 'threee layers of icing, home-made.'
  • he made it himself
  • he is celebrating her wieght game, like it is an achievement - the reader may find the poem/ his attitude shocking
  • 'a candle for each stone in weight.' 
  • the first line is no longer ambigious - the reader now knows it is a referance to weight - the women weights 30 stone 
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Second Verse ' the icing was white but the letters

  • white symbolises innocence, but pink symbolises feminimity e.g 'girly ' 
  • 'they said 'Eat me' - controlling
  • readers had to ask if women is complisit or the victim of a form of abuse at the hands of a controlling partner 
  • 'And I ate it, did what I was told.
  • Didn't even taste it' - this line conveys to the reader that eating is not about pleasure for the women 
  • the women is dismissive about the enjoyment of food 
  • there is a shocking attitude towards consumption in the poem   
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Third Verse 'Then he asked me to get up an walk'

Verse 3

  • verse is full of vowel sounds
  • which are almost overwhelming
  • onomatopoeia , assonance , repeatition 
  • 'round the bed so he could watch by broad
  • belly wobble ,hips judder like a juggernaut.

Verse 4

  • ' THe bigger the better ,he'd say,' - change to his voice
  • 'i like ( new line) big girls, osft girls , girls i can burrow inside'
  • repetition of girls 
  • he is controlling, note he uses the word 'girls ' instead of women 
  • he is overbearing, and his partner is hidden away and dependant upon him ( unhealthy relationship)
  • he substains her 
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Verse 5 'I was his Jacuzzi'

  • like Jacuzzi- she is fixed in one place- her vitality is explored in this line
  • she is his temptation
  • Jacuzzi- bubbling movement 
  • 'he was my cook' - he substains her
  • 'my only pleasure was the rush of fast food,' -she gets no pleasure out of the relationship 
  • 'watch me swell like forbidden fruit .' - story of Adam and Eve from the Bible ( in this story most of the blame is placed on Eve for tempting Adam - like the snake to disobey God)
  • this poem explores gender politics 
  • 'His breadfruit. His desert-island after shipwreak.' - the poet , who is black ,explores racism in her poems, here the referance may be to colonial power as he ( the man/feeder ) has overtaken the women 
  • Verse again leaves reader wondering, who is at fault ? 
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Verse 6 and 7 'too fat to leave ...'

  • repetition of 'too fat to..' - she laments her loss of freedom e.g she is no longer mobile ,she is unable to go out due to her weight 
  • does this make reader feel sorry for her ? 

                                               Verse 7

  • 'The day I hit thirty-nine..' - another referance to her increased weight
  • 'I allowed him to stroke ( next line ) my globe of a cheek' - another referance to world 
  • also gives reader a sense of something unimaginably big 
  • The poet is using dark humour to portray how serious the situtation has become 
  • 'He said , Open wide, poured olive oil down my throat.'
  • Line conveys how controlling the man in this relationship is 
  • and also again the shocking attitude to consumption e.g pouring olive oil down someones throat 
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Ending ( Verse 8 and 9) ' Soon you'll be forty..'

Verse 8

  • referance to increasing weight
  • feeder is delighted by her progressing weight gain
  • ' I drowned his dying sentence out'
  • if reader is shocked by attitude to consumption within poem, they are even more shocked by the attitude to death
  • ( women in poem has suffocated or 'drowned ' man to death)

Verse 9

  • 'his eyes bulging with greed.' gluttony /consumption until end
  • ' Final line : 'There was nothing else left in the house to eat.' ambigious ending 
  • dark humour ( through literal interpretation e.g she is about to eat him)
  • or that by end the conlonial authoriity has ben overwhelmed by the nation who get their independance
  • or another metophorical interpretation , that his controlling nature and her consumption have removed her identity which she has reclaimed at the end of the poem 
  • ( also running theme of gender politics ) 
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