Essay on a Matter of Taste

Words: 1126
Pages: 5

In the short story “A Matter of Taste” by Alex La Guma, several political issues are addressed. Race, socioeconomic status, education and experience, are all factors that are somehow brought up throughout this story. The thing that stands out the most, and really brings all of these factors together, is the idea that “more is left unsaid than said.” More is left unsaid than said; what does the statement really mean? To begin with, this idea is the theme to the structure of a lot of fictional writing, including this story. A good author is one who doesn’t have to say or spell out what he wants the reader to know. With description and detail, one should be given the opportunity in reading a story to imagine and infer what happened. One …show more content…
This man expects to be waited on and have a fancy dining experience, yet he isn’t even ordering anything from the restaurant. The customer could also be joking about the quality of the restaurant by making this statement, which would prove the level of ignorance that these wealthier people had. The jokes between the men continue when Chinaboy says, “Another John goes into a caffy and orders sausage and mash. When the waiter bring him the stuff he take a look and say: ‘My dear man, you’ve brought me a cracked plate.’ ‘Hell,’ says the waiter. ‘That’s no crack. That’s the sausage.’” More is left unsaid than said here as well. The waiter is responding to the snobbiness of the customer who is apparently expecting some sort of elaborate plate of food and hasn’t realized that this restaurant is clearly not trying to provide the “fine dining experience.”
The statement “why ain’t the band playing” comes up again at the end of the story, allowing the reader to conclude that La Guma was definitely trying to make a point by it. On page 78 Chinaboy shouts to Whitey, “Why ain’t the band playing? Hell!” as he jumps on a train with hopes of reaching America. Chinaboy makes this remark in an almost sarcastic way, as if poking fun at Whitey for thinking he is going to do big things by hopping on the back of a train car and hoping he makes it to the States. In the paragraph before this, Chinaboy coaches Whitey on how to get on the train, which reveals that