“Sweetness in the Belly” by Camilla Gibb: Theme Analysis

Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb tells the story of a young woman, Lily, who, despite her multicultural identity, feels like an outsider. This story describes how, in today’s global society, representatives of different cultures not only interact with each other but also share the same problems. The author of the book develops the theme of globalization through the setting, plot, and characters, illustrating how different cultures merge in modern society. In particular, Gibb places the narrative in cities around the world, showing the transformation of Lily’s identity, as well as her multicultural relationships with other characters.

First of all, the setting of the book develops the theme of globalization, switching the reader’s attention from one part of the world to another. The narrative of the story spans Ethiopia, Morocco, and England, highlighting multiculturalism and globalization. In particular, the author, depending on the setting, describes events and features specific to a given culture and place. The main character of the book notes that she grew up in Morocco, but the most important events of her life are connected with Harar. Lily says, “Harar became home: the place we came of age, fell in love, the place we were forced to flee” (Gibb 28). Thus, the setting of Morocco and Harar conveys the idea of ​​multiculturalism and the merging of different cultural identities.

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London, in turn, is another important city for the story in the book. The English setting of a large metropolis, the capital of a modern European country, refers to true cosmopolitanism in the context of globalization. Lily says, “Four women… looked up to a close English sky and thanked Allah for this sign of his generosity” (Gibb 15). Thus, the setting develops the theme of multiculturalism and globalization by placing people of a different eastern culture inside the European setting.

Lily has become a part of this multicultural scene and, as a character, combines this idea of ​​merging identities. Gibb illustrates how difficult it was for the character to establish his position in Muslim society. After that, the author places Lily in a European setting, where statements about her faith are taken freely, which also causes her discomfort and feelings of rejection. While working at a hospital in England, Lily notes that she has met refugees from various parts of the world. This aspect emphasizes the extent to which the character of Lily, being in the setting of a cosmopolitan society, interacts with various cultural identities. London as a setting develops the theme of globalization, offering Lily the opportunity to grow as a multicultural person. She realizes that in today’s world there is no separation between places and cultures.

It is also important how the plot of the book develops the theme of globalization, focusing on the transformation of Lily’s personality. Gibb gives the main character a multicultural character, indicating that her parents were European, but she was later adopted by a Muslim family in Morocco. This diverse cultural background allows Lily to explore her identity as the story progresses. Gibb, through the alternation of narratives from different places within the plot, tries to emphasize what global problems exist and how they connect different points of the planet. Once in England, Lily is forced to choose between European and Muslim identities, which is an obstacle for her. In Europe, the main character meets many refugees from various countries, but they are all united by common global problems, including war. Thus, the plot of the story develops the theme of globalization, drawing the reader’s attention to the fact that regardless of culture, people in different parts of the world experience the same difficulties.

The author of the book also develops the theme of globalization through the introduction of many multicultural characters, like Lily herself, as well as illustrating their relationship. For example, the main character has a romantic relationship with Aziz, who is a representative of Muslim culture and lives in Morocco. Lily and Aziz belong to different races and cultures, but they share a common feeling of love for each other, which is an example of a multicultural relationship. Additionally, in England, Lily meets with Amina, who is also Muslim and has different physical features from the main character. Thus, Lily’s interactions with other characters illustrate a multicultural relationship. This aspect develops the theme of globalization, as it emphasizes that in different parts of the world, representatives of different cultures are capable of friendship and love for each other.

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Gibb uses such aspects as setting, plot, and characters to develop the theme of globalization. The author places the stories in different parts of the world, separately highlighting London as a cosmopolitan city, within which representatives of various cultures freely exist. Additionally, it illustrates the transformation of Lily’s identity, which is trying to combine the features of European and Muslim cultures. Finally, Gibb illustrates the relationship of characters belonging to different races and cultures, which emphasizes and develops the theme of globalization in the modern world.

Work Cited

Gibb, Camilla. Sweetness in the Belly. Penguin Group, 2005.

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