restricted access Subverting Social Customs: The Representation of Food in Three West African Francophone Novels

Food, eating habits, and culinary customs in West African societies are embedded with deep social symbolisms and meanings signifying kinship ties, friendship, political relations, and social status. This symbolism is defined as commensality, which means more than just sharing and consumption of food. Through a selection of West African francophone novels, this paper examines the trope of food, eating, and culinary customs to reveal the ways the novelists employ food items and habits to critique the sociopolitical situations of West African societies. In particular, these novelists delineate their social critique by detailing the subversion of the deeper symbolism of food and eating habits in West African societies.