Compare The Ways The Poets Present Different Attitudes Towards Eating Out In The Poems ‘The Sweet Menu’ And ‘Eating Out’

650 words - 3 pages

Compare the ways the poets present different attitudes towards eating out in the poems ‘The Sweet Menu’ and ‘Eating Out’. 1000 Words.

In both poems ‘The Sweet Menu’ and ‘Eating Out’, the poets use a range of linguistic techniques to convey the different attitudes towards eating out.
In ‘Eating Out’ the poem is written in unrhymed couplets, 14 lines with an extra last line. This gives the somewhat effect of a sonnet possessing an extra line. The poem is told in a series of different experiences in restaurants. Throughout the poem, Fanthorpe recalls visits to restaurants taking the form of initiation in fine dining which was experienced in the poets childhood as her father rehearsed with her the ‘grown-up’ eating out.
Fanthorpe has built most of the poem on particular incidents and memories. However the first line encapsulates the whole meaning of the poem: ‘Adventures into rehearsed but ...view middle of the document...

The poem describes a solitary meal in a restaurant in simple and direct language. His focus throughout the poem is elsewhere which could suggest that he feels that he is no longer alone. This is also implied by the use of couplets then one single line. The single line could suggest that he then concludes his true loneliness, and the experience of eating alone in a busy restaurant ‘hasn’t come to much’.
The poem ‘The Sweet Menu’ connotes a reflection on his life where the speaker is primarily focused on the loneliness of his life. The ‘other chair’ of the table is significant even in its placing ‘pulled back as if someone will come’. It seems as though the restaurant staff are expecting for a second person and that the solitary meal will become a ‘date’. Perhaps the speaker means to point out that there is no reason to have two chairs at a table when only one person is eating there. The ‘other chair’ emphasises that the table is designed for ‘two’ and there is only one person there.

'There is a flower in a bottle on my table’ – this flower develops in significance throughout the poem. At first it seems a small enlivening touch which is part of the attractiveness of the restaurant but is then soon to be proven to be artificial though it is placed in water. This makes the flower take on a wider symbolic significance, and suggests that it reflects in some way the mood of the speaker. The flower is out of place, being offered nourishment that it doesn’t need. Just like the speaker being out of a place, on his own in a busy restaurant. The artificial nature of the flower suggests the restaurant is not as attractive as it may seemed and that there is something ‘fake’ about it. Just like the falsity in the lily which is just a piece of plastic.

Both poems give the impression that eating out is quite an overrated and uncomfortable experience. As time went on, with that being them getting older or the more time they spent at the restaurant, both the speakers realised that it isn’t all that it seems and that both of their experiences was dissappointing.

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