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| Coming Home Again Essay

Chang-Rae Lee’s Coming Home Again is a personal Essay. It mainly talks about his family and especially her mother. The novel talks widely on Korean food. The author uses food as a metaphor. He compares food to the relationship he had with his mother. It is after the mother passed away that the writer realizes what she meant to him. The author had often thought that the parents did not love him. He accused them of sending him to a private school not knowing that it was the best thing for him. This is clearly seen when he says that ”My going to such a place was part of my mothers not so secret plan to change my character”

Main Body

The writer uses food as a reminder of his childhood days. He describes in detail how he used to prepare food together with his mother. He compares his character to that of his mother as he loves making dinner for the family. This is outlined when the author writes that” When I was six or seven years old, I used to watch my mother as she prepared our favorite meals.”His mother would sent him out complaining that the kitchen was not his place but the author would go back t the kitchen quietly and stand beside his mother and watch her prepare the food.

Food becomes a happy experience for the family. They would set food in the tables and the family would gather to share together. His mother would try and eat despite the fact that she had stomach cancer. Her eating brought happiness in the family. This is seen when the author says” This made us all feel good, especially me, for I could not remember the last time she had felt any hunger or had eaten something I cooked” In this case, food is seen to unite the family. Food is used to unite the author and his mother. In many cases, it becomes the starting point of their conversations. (Harvard, Neil and Allen Gregory)

Food is also used as a home reminder. The author’s parents go to visit him in school and her mother brings out plastic containers filled with food. The author eats so much that he ends up vomiting. From that day, his mother started preparing the same food each time the schools would close and the author goes home. It becomes the routine food for the family.”From that day, my mother prepared a certain meal to welcome me home. It was always the same.”He described how he kept thinking of the food awaiting him as he was travelling home. Use of food shows the relationship the author had with his mother. After the mother passed away, the author says that the foods he starts to prepare are off the smell. He wishes that he had paid much attention to his mothers cooking since he was not left any recipes.


Food has been used as a metaphor in the essay. The preparation, cooking and eating habits have been clearly illustrated. This essay teaches us to pay attention to everything before it is too late. Sometimes many people ignore what they have and not take advantage of it thinking it is there to stay. If the author had paid keen attention to his mothers cooking, he would be cooking similar tasting food even after the mother passes away. He ends up wishing he had paid more attention to her teachings and also to her too. From the essay, it is therefore clear that food can build relationships and also it is used to convey culture.

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