Both Titus Andronicus and Grandpa’s soup serve the purpose of entertaining the reader in juxtaposing ways. Titus Andronicus is illustrative of the alarming horror that certain types of cooking and food reinforce, whereas Grandpa’s soup is representative of the warmth and affection that certain types of food and cooking can bring. Themes portrayed in these texts such as death, mortality, celebration, desperation, love and hate are looked at from completely different angles through the literary techniques displayed by both writers, which will be analyzed and discussed in this essay.
First of all, the celebratory atmosphere created in both texts highlight the horror/happiness. For example, in Titus Andronicus, ingredients of human flesh and bones are mixed to produce delightful dishes. Literally, this is gruesome and chaotic but for the characters cooking these dishes it connotes a sense of victory over defeating their enemies and ridiculing them, which they then celebrate. Similarly, in Grandpa’s Soup the ingredients are given a voice to, making them almost onomatopoeic for example, ‘hoch’, ‘loch’ and ‘och’.
The rhythmic tone signifies togetherness and similarity between the words indicative of the togetherness and strong relationship the character has with her Grandpa. The repetition of these ingredients throughout the poem adds emphasis to this idea, it seems as if it was pouring out of her mind – this is also reflected through the character’s voice because it doesn’t seem to be limited to a form, the poem sprawls and is shaped by the speech, which reflects the joy and celebration in the poem.
Death and mortality are also common themes in these poems presented to us in two completely different ways. Ruthless cannibalism in Titus Andronicus versus natural death in Grandpa’s Soup: Titus very easily and by giving clear instructions orders on how to kill Chiron and Demetrius. This implies that if he so effortlessly does this he is not at all moved or disturbed by it and that it is completely normal to him. The silence and reaction of others around him show that they are also unaffected by it, which forces out an extremely shocking response from the reader.
In contrast, Grandpa’s Soup signifies that Grandpa’s cooking provides her with genuine pleasure not just contentment or satisfaction but something greater therefore she goes onto talk about her fear of losing him, which overcasts a melancholic shadow over the whole poem. The writer understands that death is a natural process that she cannot stop but she goes on to say how it will affect her living life as she will be emotionally torn apart and carry the burden of pain throughout with the absence of her Grandpa and his remedial soup.
There is evidence of figurative language that is very effective in outlining and comprehending the character’s point of view in Grandpa’s Soup for example the simile ‘like a rich island in the middle of the soup sea’. The hyperbole assists in getting her ideas across. Describing the soup as a sea represents the depth of the character’s feelings associated with the soup, and her Grandpa. This is reinforced by the yearning that is evident through her language, for example ‘he knows I will grow and pine for it.
I will fall ill and desperately need it’ this could be seen as deep emotive language that shows her desperation and strong will to hold onto her Grandpa forever and the fact that she draws from the semantic field of health shows that the soup is so important to her it’s like a cure or a medicine for all her illnesses. The desperate people that have no peace in Titus Andronicus are reflective of the fast pace of the poem and how quickly events unfold throughout the poem leaving the reader with no time to digest it.
The juxtaposition is evident in, ‘whereof their mother daintily hath fed, Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred’ shows that she has done such a catastrophic deed but in a way that is not imaginable and something she herself was unaware about. The adverb ‘daintily’ screams out the disgust. This technique achieves maximum impact because soft words are used to convey a very powerful, strong meaning completely alarming the reader because it is such an unnatural, unusual situation.
Also, the conversational and chatty lexis rather than it makes as if all the gruesomeness is very common and there is nothing to be shocked about. Both writers use iambic pentameter giving the texts life and a certain personality. For example in Titus Andronicus the iambic pentameter assists in building tension, suspense and the stress. Furthermore, in Grandpa’s Soup it would be appropriate to say it sounds like a heartbeat when read aloud illustrating the love and affection that resides in the poem. The role of women in Titus Andronicus seems very minor.
Rape is the stigma attached to Lavinia therefore it is believed that her life is no longer valuable or even useful which is why she is subject to death after she gets justice. Titus uses the killing of Chiron and Demetrius as a justification for killing Lavinia. Additionally, Tamora just follows instructions even though she is the empress but has no real voice. On the other hand, in Grandpa’s Soup, the whole poem is a female narrator expressing her feelings and having the most important place in the poem.
In conclusion, it can be said that the themes of these texts are highly comparable because both texts possess the same themes, which are given a completely different light in each one. Titus Andronicus is accurately representative of its genre: a revenge tragedy and Grandpa’s Soup gets across the idea that food can form and trigger memories that last a lifetime and the nostalgia allows us to reconnect with someone that may be gone but still alive in our thoughts.
Titus Andronicus sticks closely to its fictional identity however Grandpa’s Soup allows the reader to bring to life real feelings that are relatable to a wide audience. On the contrary, it can be argued that even though we can closely relate to Grandpa’s Soup rather than Titus Andronicus, the concentration of the themes in Titus Andronicus allows us to understand the real meanings of those more in it rather than in Grandpa’s Soup. When analyzing the texts it is important to consider the purposes of the texts and both texts fulfill their purpose to entertain to a large extent.
The various techniques such as figurative language, word choices, form, structure and sound patterning are used by Shakespeare and Kay to get across certain attitudes and values have been extremely successful in doing so. Additionally, the backgrounds of the writers and the eras they were writing in seem to have largely influenced these poems. For example Kay may be giving a personal account of her experiences giving it a timeless quality whereas Shakespeare’s motivation may have been what sold or was popular at the time to spectators.