One way in which Text 1 and Text 9 both link food to childhood is with the use of imagery. Topping uses highly adjectival language (“porky head”) and synecdoche (“fingers fat as sausages”) in order to create vivid imagery. Though dark, these images nonetheless entertain the audience, and as it is a retrospective poem, they carry the suggestion that when we are children we see things for what they really are – the gruesome detail described reflects how children are very visual in their sense of the world.
In contrast, Text 9 uses graphological devices to set a relaxing and friendly atmosphere to persuade the audience the opposite way Text 1 does. The picture of a girl eating meat, and Torode smiling towards the camera, breaking the fourth wall, create an intimacy with the reader. Torode uses anecdotal language such as, “I was raised on the stuff”, where the use of the vague completer ‘stuff’ reflects how it’s an informal text. In this way Torode uses his own childhood as a rhetorical device to persuade the audience to buy meat, as at the time that the article was written, in 2008,
there was a meat crisis in England, and so Torode as a public figure aimed to try and help the struggling meat economy. Like Topping, Torode also uses highly adjectival and comparative language to create vivid imagery, for example “tastier”,“succulent” and “large, smoky”, all of which make a sensory appeal to our taste buds, further adding to the persuasive element of the article.
Another way in which Text 9 links childhood to food may be seen in the way that Torode describes his childhood, using the first person pronoun (“I can still remember…”),which represents how he is
apparently reminiscing with you in order to create a sense of intimacy with the reader.
In contrast, Text 1 inverts the use of a childhood rhetorical question – “What does the sheep say now?” – implying that the sheep has been killed and so can’t say anything; this device further darkens the whole text and subverts the notion of a pleasant visit to the butcher’s shop. Topping also uses enjambment (“playing farms”)to represent a double entendre that links the butcher’s shop to a child’s play farm and further subverts the subject matter. In Text 1, while talking about the children’s play farm, she refers to the animals as “meat” – this represents how as children we see animals as our friends, and yet as we grow up our perceptions change and we come to see them as food. This is ironic as Topping humanises the pigs at the beginning of the poem and compares them to humans using referential utterances such as “their porky heads voting Tory all their lives”. This provokes thought and debate around politics and society, as it makes us question whether we should see ourselves as cattle – people who just follow the rules handed to us. The use of religious lexis makes the poem still more ironic, as with phrase like “dignified in martyrs’ deaths” the poem focuses on the slaughter of animals and yet compares them to religious figures, and suggests that the animals should be dignified because of it.
In Text 9, Torode describes meat as a real person, exclaiming that he has a “love affair” [with beef]. This suggests that meat may be naughty or sinful, but still a good thing (something he wants to keep private because it’s so good!), which contrasts to Topping’s violent description of meat in her poem’s alliterative last line: “your soggy paper parcel bleeds.” This links to the idea of subverting traditional notions of childhood as the declarative sentence is not masked by anything but instead makes it apparent that the meat is just a part of a dead animal – a disturbing image which contrasts with the childhood lexis and imagery that is included in the poem. Tellingly, the line also uses the second person pronoun “your” to show how the speaker of the poem distances herself from the parcel as she doesn’t agree with it.