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Essay: ‘Eating Sugar’ by Catherine Merriman

Travelling is something many people are dreaming about. They want to get away from what they know and learn about other cultures. But according to the writer William Cannon Hunter the meeting with other cultures often creates a gap between persons.
Without a shared conversation, each participant in the host-tourist relationship relies upon their own linguistic script, identifying and maintaining a functional yet alienating perception of “us” versus “them”.
Catherine Merriman writes in the short story Eating Sugar about a journey to Thailand, shown from the tourist’s point of view. The point in this short story certainly has some of the same points as in the text by William Hunter.

The story is written in 3rd person narrator, but we only get to know the thoughts of the father Alex. His thoughts about being in a new country aren’t all positive. He is very nervous about all the new impression and the unknown surroundings. He is all the time thinking about the worst that could happen. He is also very aware of him being a husband and the protector of the family. He is very thankful that his wife is so open about her being frightened about several things, so that he will not have to express his own feelings.
Eileen found Thailand stressful, and wasn’t ashamed to show it. Alex was grateful to her. Her constantly-expressed anxiety kept his own fear suppressed.
He feels responsible for them, and that frightens him. But he does not want to make them feel insecure, so he acts like he is in control over the situation, and he does not show them when he is anxious. This is something that reflects to the title of the short story. Later in the story we hear about Alex’ and Eileen’s experience with the drug LSD. He is comparing that with the situation they’re in now.
She had taking a Tab of LSD – as he himself had done – and was…...

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