It is easy to put people in boxes, by creating classifications. Some people seem kind, and some people look dangerous. It all falls into one concept; prejudice. This is precisely what the story “Eating Sugar” by Catherine Merriman from 2001 is about.
The short-story takes the middle-aged couple Alex and Eileen from London to Thailand to meet their daughter Suzanne, who is an English Teacher.
The journey that Alex and Eileen go through is difficult for them. It makes them uncomfortable because of the cultural differences, it makes them anxious. The short story is about how the narrator Alex prejudices the cultural differences. He has a hard time to comprehend the culture in Thailand.
Alex is the main character since he is the limited narrator of this short story. Therefore, the short story also becomes subjective. “Alex was aware again of his heat thumping.
There were four of them, and only himself with his wife and daughter.” (p.3.L.71). This explains how the actions and dilemmas in the short story continues subjectively, because it is experienced through Alex.
He also seems very aware of not showing his insecurities. “Alex was grateful to her. Her constantly- expressed anxiety kept his own fear suppressed.” (P.1. L. 20)
At the arrival at the airport, Eileen’s nervousness makes him feel relaxed, and this has an impact on Alex’ behavior. His reaction makes it looks like he has high expectations of himself as a man, that could be gender roles that affect Alex.
Therefore, if he expresses his feelings, Alex will appear emasculated, that could indicate he is a proud man. Alex also seems narrow-minded. “The land of smiles but also pirates and bandits” (P.3.L.76). This is a quote from Alex’ thoughts when he meets the Thais. The quote describes how Alex prejudices the Thais, because Alex is affected by his closed-minded view.