Flash from the Past “If you eat too much of this food, you become sick and also fatafat and no amount of fatafat pills will help”. In Maira Kalman’s “Back to the Land” article she gives you two very different views on life, one of unhealthy habits where there is “fatafat” everywhere, meaning that we eat way too much fatty food that makes us way too fatty. The other way of life she paints for us is being connected to nature. Having natural foods that are organic and that are grown naturally and not in mass quantities that makes it lose its nutrition.
With having this life style we are more connected to each other. She introduces these topics in an abnormal manner that grabs your attention and persuades you in an indirect manner. She asks questions that help involve you and make you form your own opinion, but in reality it’s a clever way to persuade you to think her way. Because you wouldn’t want to read about a story that is criticizing society, she wouldn’t want to outright say this world is sick and unhealthy and we need to go back to the old way of the world. That is why Kalman uses questions to let you ponder the topic before criticizing it.
However she is also criticizing herself saying, “You wouldn’t want me to grow your food”. She is showing you that she is like you and she eats the unhealthy food and has the unhealthy habits. She is also showing you how you could change it, starting with children. She goes to an edible food garden at a school where children are taught how to grow food and cook it. This school is bringing back the enjoyment that used to be associated with home cooking and dinner time. With all the good hearted ways that Kalman shows you on how having an element of the old ways brings joy, you can’t help but side with her.
In order for Kalman to grab your attention she starts out by talking about Thanksgiving, and who doesn’t like Thanksgiving. She then continues bringing up democracy and the founding fathers and if they would be happy with the way life is now, then she leaves you hanging wondering what she means by saying, “we have since evolved into a very different kind of society”. We have to ask if this is a bad thing or a good thing. Now you are hooked. The tone is light hearted, she is not being mean in anyway, or blunt or throwing her opinion at you. She merely asks questions to help you to think.
This allows you to be comfortable that she won’t surprise you or bombard you with anything unexpected. Kalman asked, “Is there some inherent value to the way of life that we have lost? ” She allows you to build your own opinion. She is saying that we have lost a value that once used to be important in the past. She wants you to start thinking about what that value could be and why it could be important today. The questions are deep that make you think, but she mostly knows the response she will receive from them. So they are rhetorical to make you think in a certain persuasion.
Lastly the design of the article persuades you too. The way the font is childlike and the pictures are simple that everyone can relate to and have seen before. These are well thought out strategizes. She could have easily left out the pictures and made the font normal but you wouldn’t have found that nearly as interesting. She uses pictures of McDonald’s food, street venders, and pictures of shoes. The simplicity of the pictures that everyone has seen before and can identify with allow you to be more interested in what you are about to read.
She wants you to make the connection that the pictures are relatively new developments and a continuation of old developments. Just allowing that thought to be processed in your brain will help with what she is trying to make you to believe. Kalman is not telling us what to do because she doesn’t outright say, “This way of life sucks and we need to change and go back to being connected to nature”. She says instead what is happening with the fast-food, fast-walkers, and eating too much and becoming fat. Then she changes it up and gives you a view of what life could be.
She shares and experience with an edible food garden, at a school, when children cook the food that they grow. She then asks questions that force you to think about the good and bad of today’s society. This will lead you down the same path of what needing to do something about today’s society because we are living unhealthy but she doesn’t necessarily think we should completely regress because there are obvious good things that came from this new society. Kalman introduces children that work in an edible garden school garden at their school.
She then paints this picture of an edible garden where children grow vegetables, fruits, and where chickens roam. The children do the work by hand and sow and reap, pick fruits and vegetables, and they make butter by hand. Then they cook all of this food and make the table and sit down and eat with each other and have discussions. Kalman uses children in her article because they are our future. We want a good future with bright young people. That way we can trust our lives in their hands. Most kids don’t cook though; most don’t even have a home-cooked meal. Kalman says, “some drink soda for breakfast”.
Drinking soda for breakfast is not a good thing. We all know that soda has a lot of sugar and calories, and consuming a lot of sugar and calories makes people “fatafat” and there might be other consequences that we don’t know about. In her article she mentions a woman who is a little out of her mind and whom is stopping at trees, as she walks, looking up at the leaves in wonder. Kalman then asks, “Is she acting this way because she drank soda for breakfast her whole life? ” She is trying to persuade you to believe that the life we live is not healthy without saying it. It makes us look at ourselves as Americans and ask, is this, what we want?
Some of the questions Kalman asks are about democracy. Democracy means: a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges. However Kalman states that life had more of an even ability to have the good food in the past but now days you have to be well off to buy the organic food that has more nutrients and fewer preservatives. That doesn’t sound like democracy, definitely not the democracy that the founding fathers had wanted. The Founding Fathers are the group of men that developed our country with independence and the America that everyone loves.
When Kalman says founding fathers she wants us to look back on how they lived, because they were some of the greatest men that developed America. They were connected to agriculture, which was the main focus of their lives. So if these great men developed America and stayed connected to earth then why can’t we. Could it be because we have “soda for breakfast” that doesn’t allow us to be as great as the Founding Fathers? Kalman paints a picture of mixing the old with the new. Where we can still have what we enjoy and having a domestic life where we are farmers and grow our food.
She uses very thought out strategies that persuade you to think this way indirectly, with her use of tone, design, questions, and children. By stating what she thinks as a question it allows readers come to that conclusion and answer in her favor, on their own. This allows Kalman to have a neutral stance on the topic at hand. One thing is certain, after reading this article people will rethink the way they live. Works Cited Kalman,Maira. “Back to the Land. ” The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 26 Nov. 2009. Web. 23 Sept. 2012.