The short story written by Catherine Merriman named ”Eating Sugar, was originally
published in ”Getting a life”, Honno, in 2001. A third person narrator tells the short story
and furthermore the narrator is omniscient. It seems to me that the time is not important in
this short story. On the contrary the environment, the surroundings, are described into
details. In this analysis I have chosen to focus on the description of the surroundings, a
short analysis of Eileen and Alex and their relation, an analysis of the title “Eating Sugar” in
comparison with the contents of the short story. Furthermore I have chosen to take the
extract of the essay “A Small Place” and the ...view middle of the document...
That may be the whole point to the story.
Eileen tries to communicate with the native while Alex just shuts off being the typical tourist
that he is.
The short story is filled with sensuous descriptions; “Plus the dark press of the
rainforest around them” (page 1, line 5). It gives us, the readers, a perfect sense of what
they are going through, the unknown surroundings and the despair they must feel being
alone in the middle of the jungle, not knowing how to get home to their “safe-zone”.
The short story does indeed play on stereotypes. The Thai, who arrive along the
story, have this prejudiced conception of what these white high-status freaks are. They
think that they are movie stars. And when Alex spots the Thai he is suddenly afraid, he
seems to think that the Thai are primitive and perhaps even dangerous. The stereotypes
are mutual. The title “Eating Sugar” does in some way refer to that exact problem. For
Eileen, when she had eaten the tablet of LCD, she stumbled out into the kitchen to eat
some sugar so that she would be able to see the world as it is. Sugar was meant to bring
you out. While being in the jungle they have to open up and try to communicate with the
natives. Alex’s solution is to just wander off into the jungle. But that could most easily get
them killed. Eileen on the other hand re-experiences her LCD-trip. As back then she
started off being afraid but after drinking some of the beer given by the Thai she is
suddenly calm - as if she had eaten sugar - and she is the one who gets the family out of
the jungle. So “Eating Sugar” becomes a metaphor for opening up and try to take in the
world so to speak.
We as Westerns have a possibility to travel unlike many others. We have a tendency
to bring both our camera and survival kit when we do go abroad.
We invade the developing countries with our prosperity and we want to see
the natives’ poverty as if it in itself is a tourist attraction. To try to live after the saying “when
in Rome, do as the Romans do” seems impossible for the more or less luxurious tourist.