After finding out a few things, I was able to start developing my narrative and character by looking into the questions I plan to answer in order to gain some creative prompts for my scriptwriting process.
Right before you die your whole life flashes in front of you, is it true? Do they men try to recall their entire lives in the last hours? Final meal takes them back to simple things and simple lives, offers peace and comfort. But for our character all of it is not so sweet in his mind.
He doesn’t take the steak because he doesn’t want to be reminded of his father but can’t help but think about him at the end of his life.
Understanding the Final Meal Process
But, before I was able to do this, I found inspiration from Mats Bigert & Lars Bergström’s ‘Last Supper’, a documentary which focuses on the significance of the final meal and shows the contrast between cultures. Although slightly different rituals are carried out all over the world, they seem to all involve food.
In the U.S., inmates on death row were previously able to choose whatever food or drink they wanted to be prepared for them a few hours before execution. But following Lawrence Brewer not touching any of his $100 request, last meals in Texas are no longer allowing themselves to be made a ‘mockery’ of, inmates get whatever is in the cafeteria.
However, in places like Japan, they believe that if you do not eat before death, you will return as a hungry ghost, meaning that your eternal human soul will not remain. Thailand follow similar rituals, feeding their souls as a way to influence what they believe to be their futures/karma after death.
The cultural differences I began to see were interesting. The contrast between the habits of the Justice System and of the United States Government, and those of less developed countries such as Thailand are pretty obvious. Thailand offers a sense of peace, considering the after life of those killed, despite the fact that they are criminals.
For example, Philip Workman:
Apparently, “…CNN, denied that request, telling the news agency that “they do not donate to charities.” ” (http://mentalfloss.com/uk/books/26806/why-death-row-inmates-in-texas-don-t-pick-their-last-meals) Of course this information could well be fabricated as we can’t rely on CNN for reliability, however instances like this really expose the ways in which the justice system in the States does not really work in favour of individuals, but for itself as a superstructure. This led me to show more of an interest in the unfairness of the American Justice System, and Death Row was a perfect way for me to incorporate the theme of food in my research and artefact.