Society’s Unhealthy Obsession with Thinness

Before the malady had been studied clinically, people thought that this starving was something religious and some girls would fast for days and weeks at end only to end up either highly ill or dead.

Now that we understand the act, it is important to understand the scene. The scene according to Burke is "the background of the act, the situation in which it occurred." We might never know for sure why girls in 18th centuries would starve themselves because there is nothing in the article on the actual reasons for developing anorexia in those days. But in today’s society we know for a fact that obsession with thinness is the cause of this problem. With media showing unreal images of thin beauties, many young girls starve themselves to lose weight, both real and imaginary. Doctors have found that these girls do not lack appetite, but simply have "a deathly fear of getting fat".

Agent in this case is the girl who is so badly trying to lose weight that she makes herself sick. This girl would usually be a young person, highly impressionable and with a morbid fear of putting on weight. This would be a girl who "wouldn’t lick stamps because she was terrified of possible calories". She would still exercise herself to sickness because she simply cannot fathom the problem with her. A young girl with an obsessive desire to lose weight and stay thin is very likely to develop anorexia nervosa.

The most detailed part of this article would fall in the area of “agency”. According to Burke, agency is “the means or instruments used”. The author has done a good job in explaining how the agent would lose weight. There are more than one ways in which girls suffering from anorexia would keep their weight below the healthy line. Purging is the main instrument. Girls would throw up whatever they ate to at once having the feeling of fullness from eating and the satisfaction of not consuming any calories from the food. There can be other similar habits such as "mixing vinegar in her drinks or lavishing mustard on lettuce salad." Another method is lingering on the food for a very long time, "Anorexics linger over food, drawing out the meal, as people do during times of famine. Prisoners of war had elaborate strategies to make one slice of bread last an hour." The article shows many ways in which we can detect eating disorders in young people around us. It tells parents to look for warning signs like excessive exercise, little or no food consumption, lingering over food, vomiting, paler complexion and using some specific ingredients like vinegar excessively in their food or liquids.
The last is the purpose which according to Burke is the intention for committing the act. If a person is starving herself to death or illness, what possibly could be the purpose As we have already mentioned, the purpose is to lose weight. But this is only partially true because there are many women who would lose weight but not suffer from anorexia. The people suffering from this malady have two purposes a) to lose weight which can often be imaginary, and b) to be accepted by others especially those they idealize. This purpose makes them do weird things to their body and this can lead to serious