chapter  2
18 Pages

THE RITUAL OF DINING

Martin Scorsese’s film adaptation of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence manifests the “semiotic real” world of Wharton’s New York enclave. Scorsese’s camera eye peers into Wharton’s culture and reproduces the way her cultural unit semiotically transmits meaning through the ritual of dining. Food and the ritual dinners are coded means of communication, expressing social status and social co-operation. The innate power of this socially rooted and supported system of signs imparts the rules of convention for New York’s 1870s micro-society and functions as a driving force of social control.2