The Humor of Vegetarianism
In Laura Fraser’s passage, “Why I Stopped Being a Vegetarian,” the author compiles her personal motives and detachments on the controversial topic of vegetarianism. To make the essay more compelling, Fraser adds a touch of humor that transforms the writing into a light and whimsical piece. The passage, in turn, is positively impacted as the humor in Fraser’s essay relays an informal, personal tone that captures readers with the vernacular casualness of the style as well as appeals to a plethora of differentiating personality groups.
Fraser’s humor in the essay also highlights the human’s mindset including the issues in our thought process and decision making. Laura Fraser’s sense of humor completely changes the mood of the piece, and after all, when does humor not change the mood? Fraser’s comical style contradicts the seriousness of the topic to the point where the reader feels as though they are reading a personal entry rather than a dry, dull political document on the views of vegetarianism. In many occurrences, the author will ask rhetorical questions to offset what the conflict is.
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For example, when discussing how far utilitarianism can stretch to compensate for the negative effects, Fraser asks herself, “Wont free range do? ” (548). The author fully knew that even buying and consuming free range chickens opposed her views as a vegetarian, yet she attempted to justify herself with a settlement. The use of rhetorical questions shows the amusement because vegetarians are supposed to be dedicated and committed to their anti-meat cause; however, she tries to find a hole through her reasoning.
By doing so, the rhetoric adds more meaning to the essay as it reflects the misleading motives of her pro vegetarian views from the beginning. Also, Fraser uses informal phrases such as “The truth is,” (547) “It was a slippery slope from there,” (546) and “But who was I kidding? ” (548). The effect such simple words have on an essay may seem nominal, yet the phrases, along with many others, highlights the honesty in her writing and the truth that she is speaking how she feels without masking it behind elaborate words.
The humor within her personal and informal writing provides the piece with colloquial honesty and realness. Laura Fraser also uses her sense of humor to reach a wide range of audience. By doing so, Fraser creates an abundance of relatable examples that engage and involve the reader to reflect on her words. For example, the author admits, “I’d practically kill a cow just for a great pair of shoes” (548). While vegetarians’ views are on the exact opposite side, the joke in shoes appeals to women in particular.
Shoes and women go together like ketchup and mustard, and because Fraser admits the sacrifices she is willing to make in her beliefs for a fashionable pair of shoes, women who read the essay are going to be able to relate with where she is coming from. The priorities of a woman who eats meat tend to be placed on materialistic items rather than the rights of an animal. Not only are women able to relate, but also people, of both genders, who have had a boyfriend or girlfriend. Fraser writes about overhearing the harsh words of her boyfriend complain, “If only I had a girlfriend who ate meat” (549).
While it is humorous to hear of a guy’s desperate plea for a woman who would eat meat to simplify his life, both males and females can respond to the situation because Fraser mentions the relationship between a vegetarian and an omnivore as one that created problems during and until the end. Readers who have had a boyfriend or girlfriend subconsciously reflect on their relationships to ponder the effects vegetarianism would have caused. The author also refers to 1980’s college students, lesbians, and a social group having to go out of their way to please a vegetarian friend.
Thus, the humor in the interactions of different people appeals to all sorts of readers and allows them to side more with the author’s point of view because she describes events that the reader can relate to. For the most part, humans have a difficult time determining just what they want. Laura Fraser tells the reader at the beginning of the essay the reason for her detachment of vegetarianism. Frasier writes, “If eating is a socially conscious act, you have to be conscious of the society of your fellow Homo sapiens along with the animals.
And we humans, as it happens, are omnivores” (549). In the end, the reason that most humans follow one choice over the other is because they decide based on the decisions of someone else. Humans as a whole do not always have the most effective thought processing and the most logical decision making. Knowing this, Fraser understands the flaws of the human mindset and just how much of a role our societal mindset plays in determining our life choices. The author mentions again the pressure from others when she writes, “Which brings me to the leather exception.
As long as other people are eating cow, I decided, I might as well recycle the byproducts and diminish the harm by wearing leather jackets and shoes. When everyone stopped eating meat, I’d stop buying leather jackets and shoes” (548). It goes without saying that there would never come a day where everyone would cease in eating meat. It is almost completely impossible. By putting the fate of her eating choices in the hands of every other human on the face of the Earth, it shows how much she relies on the decisions of others in her own life.
The humor in the topic of societal pressure can be discovered by the reader as they scrutinize their own lives to figure out why they eat or do not eat meat. Whether it be because of their parents, friends, or some celebrities’ eating habits, the humor in recognizing personal motives and justifications are founded upon others’ choices. Unfortunately, our mind would rather us follow society than what we truly want or believe. Laura Fraser’s motives to become a vegetarian may seem like false reasons, but during the time period, the author simply wanted to feel accepted and belong to a group.
Because her story is morally one of struggle and self-realization, it is no question why Fraser added her sense of humor to liven up the story and make herself seem more easygoing as an author and as a person. Thus, the passage is positively impacted as the humor in Fraser’s essay relays an informal, personal tone that captures readers and displays the honesty in the words as appeals to a plethora of differentiating personality groups. Fraser’s humor in the essay also highlights the human’s mindset including the issues in our thought process and the pressure that determines our choices.