The Narrative Function of “Meal Scenes” in Ang Lee’s Family Trilogy

  • Author / Creator
    Chen, Kai
  • This thesis examines the narrative function of “meal scenes” in Ang Lee’s family trilogy films, exploring how food in them constructs meaning and indicates the complex nature of human relationships. Food preparation serves as a liberating element to express the cook’s repressed love to others and the cook’s efforts to establish his/her identity; however, the supposedly pleasant family meal is always full of tension due to the characters’ intergenerational/cultural frictions and their lack of communication. Thus those eating scenes ironically become an alienating force within the narratives of the films and result symbolically in the disintegration of a family. The characters’ recognition of the true situation and efforts to resolve the strained familial relationship is reflected in the scenes of “cleaning up”, which conveys the meaning of “to communicate, to accept and to forgive”, an ideal way to bridge the boundaries of generation and culture.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Lin, Jenn-Shann (East Asian Studies)
    • Reyns-Chikuma, C(h)ris (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)