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Abstract

The relationship between food, consumption and language has been of recent interest to scholars studying immigration and multiculturalism. This essay proposes that F.G. Paci focuses on the mother-daughter relationship throughout Black Madonna, in which the central conflict of the novel revolves around representations of food — and of force-feeding and excretion in particular — ultimately to argue for a necessary balance between mind and body for hyphenated identities within multicultural contexts. The conflict between force-feeding and excretion — ingesting and expelling —foregrounds the politics of food and its potential for calcifying tensions between inclusion and exclusion. While Paci demonstrates how Canadian multiculturalism requires a negotiation of immigrant identities, he does so through food-related themes that symbolize cultural knowledge and belonging. In this essay, the character of Assunta, the Italian-Canadian immigrant mother, is read as a vehicle for Paci to give voice to the challenges and complexities of immigrant experiences.


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