“Anorexic” -Eavan Bolan


“Anorexic” is a powerful poem in which Eavan Bolan explores the emotions, thoughts, and feelings associated with anorexia and/or eating disorders. The narrator begins by proclaiming “Flesh is heretic” (1). This is obviously the feeling of an anorexic, yet because of the choice of the word heretic(al) Bolan ties in a societal connotation as well. Not only does the narrator view flesh as pernicious, but apparently that is the commonly held view. Bolan also uses fire imagery throughout, with the narrator declaring “I am burning [my body]” (3). The fire imagery suggests the slow death anorexics are forcing themselves through as well as the hunger pains they surely suffer.

Bolan emphasizes the disdain for the body, as the narrator refers to her body as a “witch” and “bitch” (2 & 15). The narrator then goes on to describe her “curveless” body which is “thin as a rib” (16 & 19). The narrator also (obviously) paints food in a negative light: “renouncing milk and honey and the taste of lunch” (10-12). As well as suggesting that food is sinful, because of the structure of line 30, which juxtaposes “sinless” with “foodless” (30).

Bolan writes this poem in such a style that reminds me of the chapter in Beloved in which Toni Morrison has the character Beloved write a chapter. Her chapter is just stream of consciousness, and has few grammatical stylings or sentence structure. Bolan poem reads much the same way, perhaps as a representation of the unclear and confused thoughts of an anorexic.



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