When Curtis and company arrive in the protein bar factory car, they learn the horrible truth of the ingredients:

They're full of bugs.

Curtis gasps in horror and tells the artist specifically not to draw what he sees.

Sure, this is kinda gross, but the contents of the protein bars are eaten around the world today and we later learn that

Curtis and the others had originally resorted to cannibalism.

Why would Curtis have such a visceral reaction to the contents of the protein bars, and why would he be so afraid of people learning the truth?

  • 5
    Because: "Eewwwww, Bugss!!!"
    – Möoz
    Dec 1, 2014 at 20:45
  • @Mooz: Well put. By the real red bean paste/gel blocks those bars are based on are yummy.
    – Trish Ling
    Dec 1, 2014 at 22:21

1 Answer 1


I suspect this is a psychological issue, not a physiological one. As the expression goes: "Ignorance is bliss."

  • The people living on the Snowpiercer have been eating these protein bars for some time, so the overall idea regarding how healthy they are isn't the issue. Indeed, their protein value would be as high as any good meat and much lower in fat; an ideal food source, so to speak.

  • Consider you have a train with two primary groups, one extremely well-to-do, rumored to be eating the finest foods available to them and the other group with as little as they can possibly have. When the secondary group, which has nothing and nothing to lose, decides they have had enough and are willing to take action, you'd want it to be manageable, a controlled tidal wave of force.

  • You are charismatic enough to prepare, plan and convince this group to follow your lead and they are mad enough to risk death and dying to try and take over the train after decades of deprivation, you have to consider just how angry these people are.

  • These people have known desperate suffering and even resorted to cannibalism on occasion. Now they have a moment to discover their primary food that they are being denied or rationed so stringently isn't even necessarily a food-byproduct, or some form of left-overs made from the foods being eaten by the elite of the train, it is nothing more than

giant insects, mashed, pulped and bulked with some other unknown biomass...

  • You might be afraid the group of crazed lunatics following behind you might instead of looking at the bars as food (which they have done all the way up to this moment) and indeed when a fresh batch came out of the machine, they lovingly rushed up to consume them...might instead consider themselves further insulted and become further enraged because it isn't food the way most of them remember it. There were social stigmas associated with a diet that contained this substance.

  • Filled with this new knowledge, it might spur them on toward victory, determined to get past this one more slight or they might also snap and become completely unmanageable, which is the last thing anyone needs.

  • This event was to be a carefully planned coup, which needs stealth and controlled forward momentum, not a bloodthirsty crazed group of rioters unable to be led and instead easily gunned down. So he decides to err on the side of caution and probably thought "Ignorance is bliss."

  • This is generally a good theory, though I'd disagree on the bit about "stealth". Each car only has two doors in or out. There's not a whole lot of sneaking into the next car that can be done.
    – phantom42
    Dec 2, 2014 at 14:33

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