Feminism in My Year of Meats

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Amanda Shaw
English Comp 3
The Message of Meat

Ruth L. Ozeki, in her novel My Year of Meats, utilizes epiphanies in her development of female characters in order to reveal the flaws of a patriarchal society. These epiphanies are employed in order to emphasis that women should take charge over their lives and to not be constrained to keeping secrets as a result of their fear of repercussion. Ozeki presents a vision of a progressive, feminist global community through her characters Akiko and Bunny. While Bunny realizes her need to voice her concerns having “drifted through life… never [having] made a single decision, (p. 294)” Akiko realizes she does not need to depend on a man and that “she would never need him again (p.181)”. In both cases, they learn that their value comes from within and is not dependent on others. Through the usage of these characters, Ozeki politicizes female reproduction and expresses a feministic world in which patriarchal ways endanger the bodies of women. For the character of Bunny, a former stripper and current wife of a feedlot farmer (John Dunne), her daughter is endangered with the use of harmful hormones. While Bunny is aware of this daunting truth, she keeps it a secret because she does not want to interfere with her husband’s work. Bunny focused on being submissive to the men in her life that she ended up neglected her role as a mother. Bunny obviously knows that something is not right with her daughter because she purposely dresses her in clothes that are meant to hide the abnormal growth of her breasts. Jane describes Bunny’s denial by stating, “I know what denial looks like, and what it feels like too. It’s a mercurial flicker of recognition in the eye, quickly blanketed with a vagueness that infuses the body like sluggish blood. It is opaque. Murky. Like wading through a swampy dream that drags at your limbs, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t move forward. ..it feeds on convention, cowers behind etiquette,...
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