Eat Before You Leave

In Gladman’s Event Factory, we find out that the above line, “Eat before you leave” means “forget where you have been” (Gladman 50). This translation, thought-provoking as it was upon first glance, becomes incredibly interesting when looked at in light of Saunder’s Belonging, Distance and Clifford’s Notes on Travel and Theory. At the conclusion of Clifford’s essay, he writes “[t]o know who you are means knowing where you are” (culturalstudies.ucsc.edu). What’s interesting here is the fact that when this “warning” on the bridge into Old Ravicka is presented – the phrase printed upon a red sign, indicative of the sign as a warning – it appears as just that, a warning to the novel’s narrator before entering what could be presumed a dangerous part of Ravicka. However, this sign, red in color, disorients the reader in the same way that a salsa dance appears in Event Factory as a usual and customary way to greet someone entering a room. Later in the novel the narrator says “[t]his city, this country, was not dying (as I had previously thought) but was becoming another city, another country, entirely” (Gladman 107). As I mentioned before, in Event Factory a salsa dance is a completely acceptable way of greeting someone entering a room, so it would not be outside the realm of customary practice within Ravicka that a red sign – that to the reader is so obviously indicative of warning that we do not even think secondly about it – is merely a reminder to those inhabiting Ravicka of what happens, ultimately, to this city/country, to any city or country.

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