HomeIAMURE International Journal of Literature, Philosophy and Religionvol. 6 no. 1 (2014)

Food for Love: Bicolano’s Culture in Merlinda Bobis’ Novel

Sherill A. Gilbas

Discipline: Literature



Food satisfies hunger and hunger obeys desire. Accordingly, desire and longing result in societal problems. Food and love may be extreme needs of humans, but the fulfillment of a human’s wants through food and love may help ease such societal problems. This paper aims to unravel the culture of the Bicolanos as the theme highlighted in Merlinda Bobis’ Banana Heart Summer. As a contemporary novel, Banana Heart Summer depicts the material and nonmaterial culture of Region V known as the Bicol Region. The paper presents an analysis of the novel’s creative representation of food towards characters and their relationships with one another. The researcher employed Freud and Lacan’s psychoanalyzes particularly on the pleasure and reality principles. Likewise, the cultural and gender studies and semiotics are applied in the treatment of material. This descriptive-qualitative type of analysis employed on the novel highlights how cultural-domestic issues and socio-political problems brought along by poverty for food and love can be triumphed over through strong family bonds, religion-induced faith, culture-bound tradition, and palatable dishes on the table. The entire novel suggests hope and positivity amidst the evident “hunger”. It offers awareness of the different types of hunger brought along by the socio-historical and political issues. The understanding of one’s culture provides a better view of the world; this worldview may help identify the locale’s distinctiveness.