Monday, February 29, 2016

Revised Post: The use of sugar (sweet metaphors) in literature

We construct reality through our actions and practices. The representation of reality also reflects our sociocultural practices. Mintz contends that our preference for sugar is not rooted in our biology rather our reverence for sugar is historical and closely connected to our social practices. Mintz argues that sugar replace our desire for honey—"linguistic imagery suggested not only the association of sweet substance with certain sentiment, desires and moods but also the historical replacement, in large measure, of honey by sugar" (p. 154). To buttress his argument, Mintz highlights that language has been used to normalize and perpetuate the socially constructed practices throughout the history; and, sugar is one of them. Sugar has become part of our daily conversations, acts, music, poetry; and through which our cultural imagery of sugar proliferated. For example, we started to integrate sugar as a metaphor to describe personality and closeness of the human relationship. 

The integration of sugar in our daily lives inadvertently began to colonize our intimate expressions. Mintz argues in contemporary English "sugared" and "honeyed" words have been transformed to "syrupy tones" and "sweet talking". For example, we have naturalized the expression of sweetie/honey as a common manifestation of our attraction and emotion. Even our everyday expressions become sugary—looking at babies, puppies or hearing someone talking about a kind gesture makes us automatically say "how sweet." We rarely question our social practices and start to take them for granted. Unfortnelty, the use of sweet talks is one of those practices that we do not question. In order to know more, we need to delve into the historicity of sugary talks and how we integrated sugar as part of our regime of tastes— sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent, and astringent. Furthermore, we need to understand why sweet is the dominant and/or the only taste when it comes to expressing love, affection, and attraction.

However, the meaning of sweet talks like any other expressions depends on the communicative context. The sense of sugary talks can easily be morphed into something derogatory or negative depending on the context. Scholars like Green (2015) argues that the expression of sugary talks have also been continuously used for mocking and sneering. Furthermore, the use of “sweet” in the texts, conversations, and slang talks is very contextual and can be used both for admiration or insult. There is often a negative connotation attached to the word “sweet talks” because it refers to flirting. Green (2015) posits that sweet words are often used to convey a sour message. For example, there is some ironic use of the word sweet: “sweet mess” or “take your sweet time” that taunts the person by calling them messy and slow under the disguise of sweet words. Even we use sweet to describe a crime. A sweet crime, for example, means safe and amendable. Moreover, the phrase “keep/have someone sweet” refers to maintain someone on your safe side, especially by complaisance or bribery. The practice indicates the use of the word sweet for bribery.

Though sweet is often used to express love and affection, there has been a materiality side to it. Green (2015) posits that what makes someone sweet is either the gifts they bring or their sweet mouth. He states that sweet and sugar is used interwoven in the literature; this means that what works for sweet that works for sugar too. He also illuminates that sugar primarily means money. The terms “big sugar” and “heavy sugar” refers to a substantial amount of money as Mintz also points out. The documentary "Big Sugar" sweet, white and deadly by Brian McKenna not only highlights the “big sugar,” from it is early days with ties to slavery to modern times with it is detrimental effects and political relations, but also the preliminary idea of sugar as wealth, power, and ownership.

            Sugar also has used typically in English literature to pinpoint wealthy lovers. For example, “sugar daddy,” “sugar mama,” or “sugar mummy” are used to describe the wealthy affiliates. Like sugar, the term “candy” is also common in English spoken countries, especially the United States. The word candy mean something admirable or desirable as well as money. Candy’s best-known combination, which creates a precise cultural meaning, is “arm candy.” The term arm candy refers to a charming girl that adorns the sugar daddy’s arm. The term arm candy also works as synonymous for “eye candy” and “brain candy”, which means the person is physically attractive but intellectually dumb (please refer to

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.