The play Naked Lunch by Michael Hollinger focuses on the relationship between the two characters Vernon and Lucy. The two had previously had a romantic relationship, but for whatever reason ended it. In an attempt to get Lucy back, Vernon invites her to have a steak dinner with him. When Lucy refuses to eat the steak (due to the fact that she is now a vegetarian), things quickly take the turn for the worst. Throughout the play Vernon is controlling, demeaning, manipulative and abusive, and though it seems that Lucy tried to turn her life around and wants better for herself, she is submissive towards him. While telling the story of a previously estranged couple, Michael Hollinger uses metaphor, imagery and characterization in order to show that the hostile diner is more than just a diner; it is a metaphor for an abusive relationship and rape.
The play opens with Lucy and Vernon engaged in a conversation about a show about crocodile hunting. The crocodile in this story is symbolic of Vernon. He states, “you can’t train a crocodile…all it knows, or wants to know is whether or not your juicy”(Hollinger 856). The crocodile is a metaphor for how Lucy can’t change Vernon. No matter how hard she may try, he is incapable of change. All he is concerned about is not whether Lucy is safe or happy; it’s whether or not he’s attracted to her. Professor wants me to make sure this is true…what is he really saying with this story? What message is he sending her?
The vase of flowers placed in the center of the table is another example of how Hollinger uses metaphors to describe the relationship between Vernon and Lucy. The meaning of the vase however, varies slightly depending on how it is set up. If the vase has too many flowers it shows that Vernon is overcompensating and could be his way of trying to impress Lucy or distract her with pretty things in order to get her back. While if the vase contains too few flowers, it is symbolic of Vernon simply not caring much about...
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