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Meatless Days


Meatless Days Sara Suleri Summary by Anna Chen The Immoderation of Ifat ( Ifat) The Remembrance of Ifat Ifat is the air, aura, fluid and golden apples. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Meatless Days

Meatless Days
  • Sara Suleri
  • Summary by Anna Chen

The Immoderation of Ifat
  • (?????Ifat)

The Remembrance of Ifat
  • Ifat is the air, aura, fluid and golden apples.
  • --At first I thought she was the air I breathed,
  • --she lay around me like an umbilical fluid,
  • --I was asleep inside her influence when I did
    not yet know how to sleep.
  • --For if Shahid was the apple of my eye when I
    was six, Ifatwas the golden apples of my soul.

Features of Ifat
  • With strong wrists multiple voices.
  • --I was asleep inside her influence when I did
    not yet know how to sleep. since there was so
    much of her inside me.
  • --Was she twin, or is that merely my imagination?
  • -- There are two chords of voice inside my
    throat. There always were, for instance,
    several voices in her single throat. (p132)
  • --Ifat was always two. In Moments when her
    affection felt most fierce to her, she would send
    out two fingers to bracelet tightly the wrist of
    whoever was beside her and gave her joy (p133)
  • --Ifat imposed an order on her bones that gave
    her gestures of an unsuspected strength her
    wrists were such a vessel.and in arm wrestling
    once she dropped Shahid down, to cries of
    everyones amazement. (p132-33)

  • Good at game invention.
  • --For games were Ifats provenance she made us
    feel as though we collaborated with her in the
    most significant work of our lives. When I woke
    in the morning, I would slowly think, I wonder
    what we will play today, Itat would be upon me,
    shaking me to action Youre Belinda and
    Shahids Pepito and Im Diana Youre Gray
    Rabbit and Shahid is Mole and Im the Crab
    Today were going to play at Holmes. (p136)

  • Coupled with insightful discourse.
  • -- Come on, Sara, see what you must see! I
    crumpled, seeing it, for Ifats devastating
    knowledge seemed designed to rob me of the pale
    of innocence, insisting that innocence was a
  • --She presented herself to the world as a pair in
    the whitest days of her girlhood, so that looking
    and listening leaked their knowledge into one
    another in a magic of multiplication. Her talk
    was like a creature next to her, (p137)

  • Bold and brave on protection.
  • -- If anyone hurts you, Sara, Ifat said to me
    on the day I turned nineteen, make sure you tell
    me who it is, so that I can kill them, slowly.
    For a moment she looked mournful with protection
    but then, at the execution of revenge, quite
    pleased. Ill do a Dadi, chop up their livers
    into little bits and feed them to the crows, she
    added, echoing my Dadis favorite curse.
  • -- How dare you touch my sister? (p138)

  • Fidelity and identity with Papa.
  • --My mother was always cautious, maintaining her
    exemplary trick of perpetual understatement in
    order to teach Itat something of the art of
    moderation.for Ifats habit were my fathers.
    From him she learned her stance of wild inquiry,
    the arrogant angle at which she held her head. It
    was her gesture of devotion to him, really , the
    proud position she maintained when--to the
    complete devastation of domestic serenity--those
    two wills clashed. (p139)

  • Immersion into Pakistan becoming the land.
  • --I felt it sharply, when Ifat learned to love
    another man.feared that it would be too
    expensive to her spirit to utter to my father
    such a complete goog-bye. (p140)
  • --What did he signify to her?Javed signified to
    Ifat a complete immersion into Pakistan. She was
    living here for good now, she must have thought,
    so why not do it well? And what greater gift
    could she give my father than literally to become
    the land he had helped to make? He, of course,
    could never see the touching loyalty of the
    decision, (p140-41)

  • a woman cant come home.
  • Why, Ifat? I finally asked.
  • Oh, home is where your mother is , one it is
    when you are mother, two and in between its
    almost as though your spirit must retract
  • your spirit must become a tiny, concentrated
    little thing, so that your body feels like a
    spacious place in which to live. (p147)

What Mamma Knew
  • (??????)

The Literary Influence of Mamma
  • Mamma as an entrance and troubles for
    intellectual knowledge.
  • --Troubled and entranced, I was pleased to have
    my mother lead me through those shelves and see
    the pleasure it conferred on her when she told
    me, contemplatively, Yes, now youre old enough
    to read Jane Austen. (152)

  • Jane Austen as a symbol.
  • --My mother could not do without Jane Austen.
  • -- Yes, now youre old enough to read Jane
    Austen. (p152)
  • --Oh, I realized, so its not just Emma.
    Mammas daughters also bring her joy. (p153)

  • Virginial Woolf as a symbol.
  • --Mair was To the Lighthouse for me--she was
    Mrs. Ramsay. (p153)

  • Afternoon reading time.
  • --My mothers children would retire to their
    various beds with books each afternoon the house
    was quiet with reading. (p152)

  • Early educated by those titles and names.
  • --I never had much difficulty with respecting the
    privacy of Tom Jones, Madame Bovary. (p151)
  • --The titles that eluded context were the ones
    that troubled me Persuasion, I would read--a
    whole book about a single word!--or Beyond the
    Pleasure Principle--what did it mean, to write a
    book beyond what it was about? (151-52)

Mamma vs. Sara
  • Mamma as the capacity of space capacity of views
    of teaching.
  • --my mother was more invisible, more difficult
    to discern.
  • --For she moved in observation to a degree that
    caught my breath, During the years of her
    existence, I did not altogether understand this
    gravity, this weightlessness, she carried with
    her. But then, I did not teach. Now that I do, I
    know the great sobriety of tone betokens the
    bearing of a stately teacher whose step is always
    measuring out what she sees as the edges of this
    great impossibility, of what it means to teach.

  • Mamma as a life mentor.
  • --Sometimes, when I feel burdenedand tyrannized
    by the structure of a simple sentence, it does me
    good to recollect how quietly my mother measured
    out her dealings with impossible edges. (p154)
  • You cant change people, Sara, How she would
    smile and shake her head, to see my complete
    regression into a woman who does not care for
    character at all and wants to change only the
    plot. (p154)
  • -- Take disappointment, child, eat
    disappointment from me. (p169)

  • Grammatical structure as life structure learning
    as eating teaching as feeding.
  • Leave it, let it go away, the grammatical
    construction of what it is to like and be liked!
  • Daughter, unplot yourself let be. (p156)
  • --I would not like to be responsible for the way
    so many people choose to eat and not to eat, for
    even when I teach I sometimes think I fall into a
    lazy way of talking as though there were simply
    a bunch of equally fed bodies in front of me,
  • --It makes me realize something of my mothers
    concentration in her home, of her perpetual
    attention to the assembly of our stories, which
    let her learn the limits of our private tastes,
    what each of us could and could not eat. (p155)

  • Two different worlds Mamma vs. Papa.
  • --How can I bring them together in a room? My
    plot feels most dangerous to me when I think of
    bringing them together.
  • --that most reticent woman and that most
    demanding man.
  • --Papas powerful discourse would surround her
    night and day-- when I see her in his room, she
    is always looking down, gravely listening! They
    were rhetorically so different, the two of them,
    always startling each other with the difference
    of their speech
  • Papas fearsome vs. mammas faithful in
    physiognomy. (p157)

  • --No wonder my mother sought to teach me, with
    oblique urgency, the necessity of what it means
    to live beyond affectionYou cant change
    people, Sara.
  • --Why, she had tried to change my father, I
    realized she tried, until she could not try.
  • --we were accustomed to assuming that my
    fathers historical posture prevailed heavily on
    our home, but this could be our slight
    error....Mamma was more political I essayed
    the idea to Tillat. She did not have to put it
    into print--it was the sheet in which she slept

What Mamma Is
  • --Flavor of my infancy, my mother, still be food
    I want my hunger as it always was, neither flesh
    nor fowl! (p160)
  • --away from us and into her own childhood, back
    to some Welsh moment that served to succor her
    when duty felt too great. (p161)
  • --I think she is a saint. (from her student

  • --Her logic was indeed a secret. The only
    trouble with being female in Pakistan,Ifat
    complained, years later, is that it allows for
    two possible modes of behavior- either you can be
    sweet and simple, or you can be cold and proud.
    No wonder they found Mamma difficult to
    decipher, then, I agreed, whose coldness was so
    sweet As tactful as ice in water, Ifat added
    passionately, and as sweet! (p166)
  • --She learned to live apart, then--apart even
    from herself--growing into that curiously
    powerful disinterest in owning, in belonging,
    which years later would make her so clearly tell
    her children, Child, I will not grip. She let
    commitment and belonging become my fathers
    domain, learning instead the way of walking with
    tact on other peoples land. (p164)

The Colonial Burden
  • The old Punjabi poem --Hir Ranjha a resemblance
    to Mamma.
  • --No one can call me Hir I have named Ranjha so
    many times that I have become his name I have
    become him by myself you cannot call me Hir.
    (the story of Hir)
  • --in my mind she is linked to the gravity of
    Hirs posture surely she would be familiar with
    that trick of mind with which Hir told the world
    that she had become someone elses name (p162)

  • Bearing a colonial burden through her body and
    name, and living a separate life on someone
    elses land, in someone elses history.
  • --Mair Jones became Surraya Suleri! (p162)
  • --Did she really think that she could assume the
    burden of empire, that if she let my father
    colonize her body and her name she would perform
    some slight reparation for the race from which
    she came?
  • --My mother was a guest, then, a guest in her own
    name, living in a resistant culture that would
    not tell her its rulesthe fact that even as my
    mother thought she was arriving, she actually had
    returned. (p163)

  • Is it fair, Mamma, is it fair that you have
    reached a point where you no longer bother to
    differentiate between what the world imagines you
    must be and what you are? Is that it, what you
    are saying? (p169)