Dietland Short Essay - Answer Key

Sarai Walker
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 188 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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1. What is the identifying feature of Leeta's appearance?

When Plum tells the reader she is being followed by a mysterious young woman, she mentions the young woman's brightly-colored tights, saying that her legs are always covered in some bright color that would come in a pack of Lifesavers. As Plum continues to notice the woman following her, she always mentions the brightly-colored tights as Leeta's identifying feature.

2. What is the significance of Leeta's name?

The significance of Leeta's name is that it is a play on the word leader. In keeping with the literary tradition of guides, such as Dante being guided through Hell by the ancient Roman poet Virgil in Dante's Inferno, the author of Dietland uses the character of Leeta as a tool to bring the protagonist to a radical change in perspective.

3. Discuss the difference between Alicia and Plum at the start of the novel.

Though both names refer to the same person, the protagonist, she views the two personas as being distinct from one another. Before her philosophical awakening brought on by the women at the Calliope House, Plum plans to again use her birth name of Alicia once she becomes thin. Just like most things in her life, she views the moniker of Plum as temporary, one she is only using until the wondrous and inevitable day when she will be thin and can begin her real life. She tells the reader that the name Plum was given to her by her mother and that the name makes it clear that "roundness" (38) has always defined her.

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