2FEATURES OF THE SHORT STORY 1. Setting - Paris – Restaurant (Currency: Francs)2. Main characters - Narrator (a poor writer)- The woman – 40-year-old fan3. Plot - Story within a story. First 3 paragraphs and last paragraph constitutes the one story - the main one – Contains his message to the reader4. Climax - the billThe revenge in the final paragraph5. Themes - appearance vs. reality- Manipulation- Revenge
5MAIN CHARACTER (PROTAGONIST) First person narrator (“I”)PoorGullible/ easily manipulated - couldn't say no to a woman - unable to be honest with her - made do with what he had - could not afford caviar, but he allowed her to order it.His character develops throughout this story - feelings change from flattery and excitement to disgust and anger to revenge.
6Initially, the protagonist feels flattered and excited that he has been asked by an older woman to take her out to lunch in one of the fanciest and most expensive restaurants in Paris. Although his financial situation worries him, he wants to please his acquaintance.However, when she begins to order many expensive items, he first worries about how he will pay the bill. Then, he feels humiliated for being used (manipulated) to satisfy her expensive food tastes only.
7Next, her insensitive discourse angers him: "I see that you're in the habit of eating a heavy luncheon. [the protagonist ate only a mutton chop]. I'm sure it's a mistake. Why don't you follow my example and just eat one thing? I'm sure you'd feel ever so much better for it." However, he replies sarcastically, "I am only going to eat one thing."Finally, the only solution for him is to not care about her and to be as mean to her as she was to him, whenever possible. His final statement shows that he has had his revenge at last... “Today she weighs twenty one stone.”
8He is a down-to-earth, sincere and honest man even during his angry moments. At the end when the acquaintance says, "Never eat more than one thing for luncheon" he emotionally releases himself by retorting, "I'll eat nothing for dinner tonight!"His second release though less stormy, happens when he complacently says, "Today she weighs twenty one stone." These statements confirm he is no longer flattered by her.
9THE WOMANPg Woman's name not mentioned - probably a fan/ someone he though he would admire or fall in love with ("by correspondence" - she wasn't as young as he expected - 40) - he had asked her out for lunch - hadn't see each other for many years - talkativeManipulating and insincere - she gets what she wants while the protagonist must pay the priceBold, self-centeredDemanding/ inconsiderate/ extravagant - she "beckoned" him at the play - wanted to meet him at HER time - at an expensive restaurant, far above his means
10CENTRAL THEME - APPEARANCE VS. REALITY The speaker, in 'Luncheon', wishes from the beginning that his date would be a beautiful woman. He imagines a portrayal of a graceful lady in his mind. But, when he goes to have a lunch with her, she appears as a surprising blast, a total opposite to his imagination. Not only her appearance but also her dialogues express that she is an extremely fat, food-loving and ravenous woman who does not even think a bit about the costs the speaker would have to pay for the lunch. She has a very good appetite, and gobbles a lot of money also. The most interesting part is the verbal irony hidden in the lines she utters to the speaker, like she does not eat too much etc. The irony concealed in her speeches helps to develop the main theme. These ironies make 'Luncheon' a comic story in the true sense.
11SARCASM AND IRONY"Did I remember?" (Pg. 78) - Sarcastic - wasn't a pleasant experience - one that he'll never forget.Irony - pg Says one thing, but does another - She wanted to meet with him to chat to him - but we are not told what they chat about. "I never eat anything for luncheon", "I never eat more than one thing." "I never drink anything for luncheon."AcknowledgementsDorit Sasson
12Questions1. Why had the writer never thought of eating at Foyot’s restaurant?He was poor - restaurant too expensive2. Explain why he decided to meet the woman at this restaurant.She wanted to meet him there - She wanted to chat with him - he was flattered that she wanted to have lunch with him.3. Why didn’t he mind her talking so much?She spoke about him.
134. Name everything that the woman ate and drank at the restaurant. Salmon, caviare, champagne, giant asparagus, ice-cream and coffee, peach5. Explain why her statement: “I don’t believe in overloading my stomach” turned out to be ridiculous.(Pg 179) She couldn't stop eating - ended up obese6. What was the writer panicking about during the meal?Whether he would be able to pay the bill
147. “I knew that she thought me mean. (a) Why did she think this?(Pg 181) He only left 3 francs for the waiter.(b) Do you agree that he was mean? Give a reason for your answer.No, it's her fault that he barely had a tip for the waiter ORYes, if he re assertive he wouldn't have been in this predicament in the first place - the waiter deserves more for all the work done.8. “I’ll eat nothing for dinner tonight.” Does he really mean this? Explain.Yes, he has no money for food. ORNo, he's being sarcastic - this is what the woman had been saying all along.
159. “Today she weighs twenty-one stone.” How much is this in kilograms? 133,35 kg10. Explain why the writer felt he had got his revenge in the end.She is obese - she deserves it because of the way she treated him that day at the luncheon, knowing full well that he couldn't afford an expensive restaurant, but still went ahead manipulating him.
16Explore Language and Literary Devices 1. Suggest reasons why the writer does not name the woman in the story.He's not making a point about a particular woman, but is refering to people in general who manipulate others, but who will eventually receive their just reward2. What do you understand by the expressions used in the following sentences:(a) “I was earning barely enough money to keep body and soul together.”He was very poor.(b) “My mouth had often watered at the sight of them.”He loved asparagus and longed to eat it.
173. Explain the irony in the guest’s statement: “…I 3. Explain the irony in the guest’s statement: “…I never eat more than one thing for luncheon.”She says she never eats more than one thing, but she orders lots of different dishes.4. “They had the blush of an innocent girl …” Explain why this is an example of a metaphor.(Pg 181) He's comparing the pinkish colour of the peaches to the colour of a young girl's cheeks.5. In the opening paragraph of the story, the writer says: “…I hardly think I would have recognised her.” Quote the line at the end of the story that explains why he nearly didn’t recognise her.“Today she weighs twenty-one stone.”