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  • Writer's pictureESSMAT SOPHIE

The importance of the theme of “fertility” in Ruth Ozecki’s My Year of Meats

My Year of Meats reflects important issues, such as the interrelation between corporate profit and patriarchal forces that threaten the bodies, sexuality, and reproduction issues of women worldwide. The novel focuses on the links between reproduction and violence not only in Modern America but also around the world. In this novel, the interrelation between fertility and violence applies not only to women but also to animals. In a racial and cultural context, Ruth Ozeki focuses on human health issues, particularly women’s reproductive health.

The novel’s plot implies that Jane Takagi-Little strived to explore the issue of meat consumption due to its harmful effect on people’s health, particularly women’s reproductive health. This issue is crucial to analyzing the novel’s theme of fertility.

Due to an evil industry that has been the principal offender in the exploitation of farm animals and humans, Akiko from Japan and Takagi-Little from the United States suffered infertility.

Akiko struggled with infertility, just like Jane Takagi-Little. Akiko was forced by his husband to eat meat, and she experienced domestic violence. She lost considerable weight and became infertile. In contrast, Jane couldn’t get pregnant in her previous marriage, and finally, after many years, when she got pregnant, she suffered a miscarriage. She later learned about her DES-related infertility issues.

The concurrent pregnancies of Jane and Akiko as well as their earlier infertility struggles represent the culmination of every topic covered in this novel. Although they have distinct geographical, cultural, economic, social, and physical conditions, they both face the issue of violence related to fertility.

Violence and reproduction are a recurring theme in Meats and are typically linked to patriarchy and capitalism. The links between gender, violence, the meat industry, and meat consumption are revealed by the crosscurrents of meat, violence, and fertility in Akiko’s home, Jane’s health issues, (Jane’s work promotes meat grown with the same hormone that affected her fertility), and farms animals that face violence as well. Animals are injected with hormones to increase their productivity and thus maximize profits generated from them.

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