A couple days ago was National Popcorn Day. So, of course, what came to mind for some of my readers as well as myself was Society's Foundlings, since the main item of food consumed within the 90 pages is overly buttered, stale, movie theater popcorn. While this is but a simple detail, it got me thinking about what that popcorn represented to each of the characters.
The popcorn is a very minor detail. It is used to illustrate the lack of food, finances, and resources offered to the character. Yet, despite this simple view of food, it has a larger meaning to Sampson, Carver, and Math in particular,
Sampson sees it as a divide between himself and others, such as Nicole Brennerman. He wonders how she could possibly understand comparing past cheap food that created a regular diet (plain spaghetti and minute rice) to the assumption of richer, more expensive foods she grew up eating (lobster). This is not only used as a dividing line, but to illustrate and represent the feeling of being an outsider.
For Carver, it remains solely a representation of things he cannot have. Lack of resources, lack of security, lack of the 'more' he's constantly searching for. It remains a barrier in not only what he can provide for himself, but what he can provide for the people he cares about, seen when he questions what else the three other main characters had to eat that day.
Math views popcorn as the complete opposite. For him, it is belonging and security. He includes it in his descriptions of Sampson and Carver's place, which in and of itself is a sanctuary. It is a sure and constant thing for him in a world that is slowly falling apart around him.
Each of these representations become even deeper when the reader recognizes nobody else would necessarily think of or even know they eat mostly popcorn. It illustrates an internal struggle, and how they view themselves and their situations.
Gathering dust in the depths of my mind, random thoughts dusted off and put out there for the world to see...