The story, “A Merry Trencherman,” aims to explore a widely held idea about overweight people, which is that they are jolly and carefree, and they know how to enjoy life. Toward the end of the short story, the narrator learns that his obese friend is far from merry, far from happy, even far from contented with his lot. The narrator discovers his friend is deeply dissatisfied with his life because of his condition. It should be obvious to people that obesity cannot march hand in hand with true happiness, yet the stereotype of the merry trencherman endures among many.
How are stereotypes helpful? What can we do to curtail unhelpful assumptions? “Two Chicken Platters” explores how the presumptions we make are so often superficial and ignore the nuances of human suffering.