Running Head: EAT CAKE, AN ANALYSIS
A Book Analysis
University of Florida
This paper analyses the novel Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray and how the characters in the novel use a variety of occupations to deal with complex life issues as well as every-day challenges. The relationship between health and the use of occupations is explored and examples from the novel are used throughout to support the link between health and wellbeing, and occupation. This paper also explores the different sociocultural views of “occupation” and how these relate to the characters in the novel.
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They wished it wasn’t there even as they were enjoying it. But Florence Allen’s reaction was one I rarely saw in an adult: She gave in to the cake. She allowed herself to love the cake” (p. 97). When Ruth offers the rest of the cake for Florence to take with her, Florence says: “I shouldn’t take your cake. But I want it. My daughters, my husband, they won’t believe it” (p. 98).
The baking of cakes gives Ruth structure and meaning to her chaotic life. When her husband Sam is suddenly laid off from the hospital where he worked as an administrator, Ruth learns that she can use her talent to produce income for her family. With the encouragement of her father and Florence, Ruth decides to go into business baking cakes for restaurants. This provides her with a great sense of pride, accomplishment, and satisfaction with her life.
When Sam gets laid off, he finds himself fantasizing about sailboats. Now that he has so much time on his hands, he immerses himself in getting information about old boats that he can renovate and sell at a profit. We see how this occupation helps Sam deal with the stress of losing his employment and his sense of identity in being the family’s breadwinner. This occupation also helps Sam structure his days as he makes plans to go see boat dealers, gathers information from magazines, and takes the necessary steps to make his dream a reality.
Ruth’s daughter Camille is a high school student who at first seems completely disinterested in her family’s troubles and is more worried about what her father’s loss of employment means to her social standing. Ray, however, goes on to develop the character of Camille into a cooperative and contributing member of the family. Camille is the one who helps Ruth develop a business plan, creates Ruth’s business cards, and helps Ruth make the deliveries of the cakes. We see how Camille uses her experience and knowledge from school courses and applies it to help her mother succeed.
In Ruth’s estranged father Guy we are exposed to how someone who has been self sufficient and independent his whole life can suddenly become limited in his ability to take care of his most basic needs. In other words, we see a perfect example of occupational deprivation. When Guy fractures both wrists, he is no longer able to work as a pianist and is unable to live alone in hotel rooms as he has been since Ruth was two years old. His condition requires him...