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Dinner at the homesick restaurant door Anne Tyler

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  • 12 november 2004
  • 43 keer beoordeeld
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Boekcover Dinner at the homesick restaurant
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Dinner at the homesick restaurant door Anne Tyler
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1) Title of work: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant 2) Author and publishing date: Anne Tyler, 1982 3) Author Biography: Tyler travels a lot in her childhood. Before settling in Raleigh, North Carolina, the family lived among various Quaker communities in the rural south. These years formed background for Tyler's Southern literary flavor, which is seen in the settings of her fiction. Also the writer Eudora Welty, who has depicted the Mississippi of her childhood, has influenced Tyler. The Tylers moved several times in their search for an ideal place to raise their children. In 1948, when Anne was six, the Tyler family found the Celo Community, near Burnsville, in the mountains of North Carolina. The community operated on a
shared labor basis. At Celo the Tylers lived in their own house, raised some stock, and used organic farming techniques. The children in the settlemed received lessons in art, carpentry, and cooking. Anne attended also a small local public school at Harvard. According to a story, whenever the school's principal had to take a short leave to look after his cows, Anne was put in charge. In this part you can see why she writes very

close to the travelling of Cody. 4) Characters with brief commentary on each: Pearl: She is the mother of Cody, Ezra and Jenny and Beck’s wife. She had got a hard life, because she had to raise all of her children by herself. She loves her children very
much, but blames herself for not raising them properly. Her children seem to punish her for something but she doesn’t know what it is. At the end she dies of pheunomia. Cody: He is the oldest son. He is embittered because of the way his mother treated him compared to his younger brother Ezra. Cody is handsome. He marries Ruth and gets a son with the name Luke. He promised himself that he would be a better father
than his own father was for him. It doesn’t work out very well. He comes home every weekend of his work, but his son barely knows him. His marriage isn’t very happy. Ezra: He’s the middle child and Pearl’s favourite. He lives in his own world and is a little naive. Cody’s girlfriends always fell in love with Ezra too. He didn’t do it on purpose, he didn’t even mention his effect on women and that’s what irritated Cody. He’s the owner of ‘the Homesick Restaurant’. That restaurant is his whole life. After his fiancee cheated on him with Cody and they got married, he lives an even more quiet life than before in his restaurant. Ezra lives with his mom and takes care of her, while he’s trying to keep the family together. Before he got his restaurant he worked as a soldier. Jenny: The youngest child. She’s a very tiny, but beautiful woman. Jenny has always been very spontaous and enthousiastic. She wanted to become a doctor, but her mother always said she wasn’t smart enough. After two unhappy marriages, she married Joe. She has a busy life and an even busier family. Beck: Father of Cody, Ezra and Jenny. Beck left the family when the children were still young. Before that time he was always gone for his job, but he always send a financial support to the family. Beck is an mysterious part in the novel, because he’s
the source of so much dialogues or fights, but you never meet him, until the end of the novel. Luke: Luke is Cody’s son, a handsome and nice guy. He doesn’t have a happy childhood, because they always have to move from place to place for his father’s work. He has to make new friends everytime they move. His father doesn’t spend
much time with him and Cody has hard feelings towards his own family and he prohibits Luke to see the rest of his family. Ruth: Ruth is Cody’s wife and ex-fiancée of Ezra. She’s thin, has a lot of frecktels, red hair and looks boyish. She’s always felt a kind of love for Ezra, even though she’s marries with Cody. She thinks she and Ezra were meant to be together. Ruth worked as a chef in Ezra’s restaurant. She loves Cody and Luke and triest to take good care of them. Josiah: Josiah is Ezra’s best friend. He’s is very big, and a lot of people are afraid of him. He is in love with Jenny, but Pearl doesn’t want them to be together, because she thinks he’s dumb and dangerous. Mrs. Scarlatti: Mrs. Scarlatti is the owner of the restaurant before it became Ezra’s. When she becomes very sick, Ezra’s changes the whole restaurant because he thinks she going to die, but she recovers. She hates it, but still, when she dies, Ezra got the restaurant. Harley: He’s Jenny’s college boyfriend. They marry without knowledge of everyone of her family, but it is an unhappy marriage. Jenny tells Ezra that Harley is so precize, that it is iritating. Sam Wiley: Jenny’s second husband and the father of Becky. Joe St. Ambrose: Joe is Jenny’s third husband. Joe already has a lot of children. In the house where they live it’s very crowded. But it seems to be a happy marriage. Slevin: Slevin is Joe’s oldest son. He has some troubles in school and sometimes he steals. Jenny doesn’t take this all very serious. Becky: Becky is Sam and Jenny’s daughter. Jenny hit her when she was younger. 5) Setting with brief commentary on each and their effects on the reader or characters: The story is situated in Baltimore, America. Most of the time the story is told from a place where the characters feel home, or supposed to feel home; There own house, the restaurant. This fact tells you that the characters most of the time spreak freely, and tell the others what’s truly on their mind. On this way you get to know the characters very well. 6) Plot Outline: The life long struggle of one particular family. The Tull family may be perceived as dysfunctional, for apparently the head of the family is missing, and the abandoned wife must tailor her dreams and expectations to fit the barren reality of the hardship of raising three children on her own.
7) Major theme with commentary: The theme of the boek is: A lacking upbringing, because of family problems, can be the cause of a lot of problems later in life, because the children will unintentionally follow their examples. Commentary on this theme - Unfinished family dinners: Everytime the Tull family has a dinner together at least one of the family members walk away. They never finish a dinner together. Maybe it is an
excuse to see each other again, because they don’t have an other reason to see each other, but cannot live without. “Hadn’t Ezra noticed (Cody wondered) that the family
as a whole had never yet finished one of his dinners? That they’d fight and stamp off halfway through, or sometimes not even manage to get seated in the first place? Well, of course he must have noticed, but was it clear to him as a pattern, a theme?” (p.154) “… they probably saw more of each other than happy families did. It was almost as if what they couldn’t get right, they had to keep returning to. (So if they ever did finish a dinner, would they rise and say goodbye forever after?)” (p.155) - Abuse of Children: When Jenny was a little girl, Pearl used to hit her. Now Jenny has a little daughter, she does the same. “She slammed Becky’s face into her Peter Rabbit dinner plate and gave her a bloody nose.” (p.209) “Was this what it came to- that you never could escape? That certain things were doomed to continue, genration after generation?” (p. 209) - Workaholic: Cody follows his father in beind a workaholic. Cody didn’t like it, that his father was always away and always told himself that he would be different. But
unintertionally he does exactly the same. - Failing lovelives: When the children are very little their parents are starting to have separated lives. As you see them grown up and become adults, none of them has an easy or real happy lovelife. Jenny divorced twice, Ezra lost his fiancée and Cody isn’t extremely happy with Ruth. - Family models: Through the whole book you see that the children makind the same mistakes and doind the same things as their parents 8) Use of Symbolism: Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant There is amain symbols in Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. This symbols is the restaurant. The symbol is a big part in Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. They bring out character’s personalities and
influence literary elements in the novel. The restaurant is brought up many times throughout Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. It is a symbol of togetherness in the
family. Both the restaurant and the Tull family are not very stable. They both have Ezra trying to keep them together. Ezra takes over the restaurant from Mrs. Scarlatti and tries to fix it up and keep it running. He changes the sign. He wants a lot of people to eat at his restaurant. Ezra also tries to bring the family together. He brings them to the restaurant for a family dinner many times. He sets up many family gatherings. Ezra never tries to cause fights in the family, nor does he ever partake in any fights. He would rather “live his life as a liquid.” (165) At the restaurant, the family can not finish a complete dinner together. They can always start of all right, but then the family ends up arguing over something. Someone in the family leaves the dinner table 9) Stylistic Devices - Profanitive diction: Especially Pearl shows during the novel a lot of profanitive language to her children. “Pearl threw the spoon in his face. “You upstart,” she said. She rose and slapped him across the cheek. Ÿou wretch, you ugly horror.”She grabbed one of Jenny’s braids and yanked it so Jenny was pulled off her chair. “Stupid clod,” she said to Ezra, and she took the bowl of peas and brought it down on his head. It didn’t break, but peas flew everywhere. Ezra cowered, shielding his head with his arms. “Parasites,” she told them. “I wish you’d all die, and let me go free. I wish I’d find you dead in your beds.” (p. 53) - Symbolism: Pearl turns blind in the book. Her vision slowly dissapears. This represents that she’s starting to lose her children. She only remembers and sees them as how they were when they were children. She doesn’t know the adults anymore. However, at some places she can see the silhouette of Ezra, when there’s a lot of light in the room. This shows that Ezra is the one closest to her. “His mother, whose vision had been failing since 1975, was now (in 1979) almost totally blind, but still did not fully admit it, which made it all the harder to care for her; and his brother was too far away and his sister too busy to offer him much help.” (p. 257) - Emotionally tone: During the novel, almost all the conversations has an overwhelming

emotion in it. It is hard to find dialogues without much emotion, whether positive or
negative. This suggest that the family lives under pressure. When something good
happens, they are really happy, but on the other side they have more often incredible
big fights or disagreements. “Ezra, believe me, she’s nothing! You’re worth a dozen
Ruth Spiveys. A dozen of both of them, to be frank, even if Cody is my son...” (p.171) “Well, Luke, are you a total idiot? Does your mother know you’re hitching rides? Where are you parents in all of this?” (p. 237) - Jargon Language: The whole story is mainly written in dialogues or in thoughts of the main characters. This makes it most of the time easy to read and spoken language. “Oh, three weeks or so.” (p. 234) - Anaphors: In the conversations they use a lot of repetition. “Have I left one out? No, you haven’t left one out. Has she left on out, he told the wall.What a question! No, you haven’t left one out.” (p. 200) “Upper middle class, middle middle class or lower middle class?” (p. 201) 10) Title significance: The title of the book is the name of the Ezra’s restaurant. Every time they have a dinner together in the homesick restaurant, someone becomes mad and walks away. But in the end the diners are the major things that keep the family together. Everytime someone walks away, a reason to have another diner is made. At the end of the story the whole family, except for Pearl, has finshed a diner. This means that the family finally found each other. Maybe a little of the pressure has gone, when Pearl died. “He’d cook what people felt homesick for- tacos like those from vendor’s carts in California, which the Mexican was always pining after; and that wonderful vinegary North Carolina barbecue that Todd Duckett had to have brought by his mother several times a year in cardboards cups. He would call it het Homesick Restaurant.” (page 122) “Dinner afterward, of course, at the Homesick Restaurant.” (page 288) 11) Literary Merit or not? I consider Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant as a literary merit, because the story is very varied and written very well. Anne Tyler uses beautiful symbolism to describe more than only what you’re reading. The story describes another part of the American culture, than the ‘American Dream’, which was very popular those days. 12) Recommendation: I would recommend this book to a friend, because it’s a wonderful, fascinating and moving story. It is so close to the truth that we all can recognize a part of our own lives in it. The language is easy to read and understand, but still very well organized ‘and not simplistic. The characters represent our ideas, which we may not dare to speak loudly.

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