Uploaded by Seth Golson

English essay

In Lucy Alibar’s “Juicy and Delicious” a young poor southern boy named Hushpuppy
struggles with the realization that his dad is going to die and the world literally falls apart as his
world falls apart. In this essay I argue that even though the character Hushpuppy visually never
ages, the story illustrates his coming of age story, eventually ending with him as an adult.
Hushpuppy’s reaction to his dad dying, having to be taught manners by his mom, and His
reaction to his dad asking Hushpuppy to touch him establishes Hushpuppy as a young kid at the
beginning of the play. In the very beginning of the play, a nurse is seen examining Hushpuppy’s
dad and telling him that he is dying, Hushpuppy’s reaction “I thought only animals die” (Alibar 1),
shows how young he is. Most young kids don’t truly understand death And can’t properly
comprehend when a loved one or family member dies and Hushpuppy’s thought that only
animals die illustrates to the audience that he is a young innocent child. Hushpuppy later comes
home from school, digging ravenously into the cat food bag before an imaginative figure of his
mother orders him to at least put it onto a plate, “At least eat it on a plate, like a normal person”
(Alibar 2), Hushpuppy not having an understanding of table manners and having to be taught
table manners by this imagined figure of his mother further establishes that Hushpuppy is still a
young child in this section of the play. While building the boat that Hushpuppy is supposed to
use to sail to Japan, Hushpuppy’s dad asks hushpuppy to touch him and Hushpuppy being a
young child punches him in the arm, “Hushpuppy hesitates, he doesn’t know how to touch a
person so he pouches Daddy in the arm, hard” (Alibar 3). This being a response for a young kid
raised in the backwoods makes sense, he is a kid raised by a dad that had to be tough to get by,
he doesn’t know what intimacy is, its just another piece of evidence that hushpuppy is an
innocent young kid at the beginning of this story.
Hushpuppy running to Marietta, the conversation he had with the stripper/waitress, and
Hushpuppy breaking Birfday cake’s egg displays that he has grown since the last scene of the
play. Hushpuppy runs to Marietta and he comments on how the gravity must be lessening And
that is how he can run so fast “Gravity is broken too. I bet that is how come I can run so fast”
(Alibar 7). This is a really random statement unless you read it with the idea that Hushpuppy is
no longer a small child. If he has grown older this comment about him being able to run faster
than before is no longer this random comment, it becomes a deeper piece of the narrative.
Once Hushpuppy reaches Marietta he enters a restaurant called the Gator Shack, where he is
served by a woman in a bikini that he is pretty sure is his mom. The way Hushpuppy speaks in
this scene is different than earlier in the play, he no longer sounds like a small child, “My
momma tore off when I was a baby for reasons uncertain, and I don’t know if she’s dead or a
stripper in Marietta, but I have ladies bumping into my life from every corner of the universe and
I wonder if they are her. Taking care of me from far away.” (Alibar 8). It would be very unusual
for a young child to speak like this, but if look at the way Hushpuppy is speaking through the
idea that he is no longer a small child Hushpuppy talking like this makes more sense because if
he is older, maybe 16-17, it is no longer unusual for him to be speaking like this as he has
matured. The world is ending and Hushpuppy’s imagined mama tells him to go say goodbye to
his dad but before he does, he breaks Birfday cake’s egg “Hushpuppy goes to Birfday cake,
snatches the egg, and smashes the egg into Birfday cake’s head” (Alibar 9). The egg represents
childhood innocence and Hushpuppy smashing it is him abandoning his childhood innocence.
Him grabbing the egg and smashing it over Birfday cake’s head represents his dad dying,
forcing him to abandon that childhood innocence and become an adult.
Hushpuppy’s speech in midnight on the ocean, and his understanding of the Japanese
woman establishes that even though visually he is still a young child, he has grown into a full
adult. Hushpuppy’s speech at the beginning of midnight on the ocean displays a way of thinking
beyond the ability of a young child, “When I relax, behind my eyes I can see all the molecules of
the universe. And the measurements and equations behind all of it. When I look too hard, it
goes away. But when I breathe in and let the universe reveal itself unto me, without me trying to
change it, I see that I’m an integer in a great astronomical equation, that I play a part in all of
this very, very advanced placement math. And this is a great comfort to me. This is knowledge
that there’s an order, even if I'm too much of a stupid little pussy bitch to see it.” it would be
extremely unusual for a young child to have this level of understanding, some adults don’t have
this level of understanding about them and their place in the universe. This speech place in the
story only truly makes sense if viewed from the angle of Hushpuppy being a full-grown adult in
this scene. This awareness displays Hushpuppy has experienced enough that he can
comprehend these ideas and believe them. This speech is Hushpuppy as an adult finally able to
deal with his fathers death, that is the comfort he is brought, knowing this information because
he realizes that there is an order, that his fathers death was apart of the order. At the end of the
play when Hushpuppy goes to “Japan” he meets this Japanese woman and even though stating
earlier in the play that he can’t speak japanese ,”And I can’t understand Japanese. I cant hardly
understand English.” (Alibar 4), he is able to communicate with this Japanese woman about
their breakfast showing that Hushpuppy has aged enough to be able to understand the
Japanese language and communicate with the woman effectively, something that as a child he
admitted he was incapable of doing.
Lucy Alibar’s “Juicy and Delicious is about a young southern boy named Hushpuppy
growing up with a dying father and being forced to grow up when his father dies before he is an
adult. In this essay I argue that even though Hushpuppy never visually ages in the play, the
story illustrates his coming of age story.