Article Title

Speaking Through Silence in F.G. Paci’s Black Madonna


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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