The Vegetarian Myth: A Stylistic Analysis
The Vegetarian Myth, written by author Lierre Keith, tackles the ever-heated question: To eat animal products or not to eat animal products? I add the word “products,” after animal because the book should more properly be called the vegan myth. As a former vegan of over twenty years Keith comes from a place of experience, or as she might have it, a bitter experience. Feeling betrayed, in denial, and physically ill from her vegan years, she has made it her goal to reveal the truth and put to rest the Vegetarian notion that abstaining from animal products is the righteous path that is morally correct, will feed the hungry, and lead to greater nutrition. Chapter one, titled “Why This Book” will be the focus of this analysis because it gives an appropriate introduction to Keith’s unique style and the omnipresent use of sarcasm. She captures an audience ranging from the devote vegan, to the exclusive carnivore, and to just about anyone else who is concerned with “food, justice, and sustainability”. Keith’s passionate, blunt, and often bitter voice along with the powerful use of schemes, tropes, and footing demand the reader attention in a fitting and engaging grand style.
From the beginning, Keith gives us a good sense of her footing as well as her bitter tone. In the first paragraph she writes in large, bold font, “This was not an easy book to write.” Putting this as the first statement already creates a footing with the readers. She is talking directly to the reader in the first person, which puts her and the reader on the same level. The fact that the book was “not easy” to write, presents a struggle in the author and tells the reader that are worthy of hearing this struggle. Over the next three sentences “I know,” “I was,” and “I know” is repeated in succession, something Keith does frequently in her writing. This is anaphora, and seeks to emphasize her bitterness through extensive background knowledge of the...
Cited: Holcomb, Chris, and M. Jimmie Killingsworth. Performing Prose: The Study and
Practice of Style in Composition. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2010.
Keith, Lierre. The Vegetarian Myth. Cresent City: FP press, 2009. 1-12.
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