The function of food images: Elizabeth Gaskell's "Cranford"
Food images invoke readers' sensory memory which generates sympathetic comprehension, drawing readers into a narrative and engaging their imaginations which embellish visual scenes with personal experiences. Through the use of food images which define her characters and add texture to domestic scenes, Elizabeth Gaskell invokes this sensory memory for her readers. This thesis examines the food images Gaskell employs in Cranford and explores her application of these images to her characters, especially those in secondary roles.
While some of Gaskell's food images are easily understood by the modern reader, many are more viable when viewed from a position contemporary with the original writing. Therefore, in order to fully appreciate Gaskell's approach, background information has been provided on Mrs. Gaskell, her period in history, and Cranford. In addition, details have been included which address the kitchens of the period, the china and silver most likely to have appeared on the tables in Cranford, and recipes for specific foods mentioned in the novel.