According to Zitkala-Sa, what does ‘eating by formula’ mean?

When Zitkala-Sa was admitted in the Carlisle Indian School, she faced a number of rules that the students had to follow. One of them was the manner of eating. There were three bells which were rung before the students were allowed to start eating. Being a natural being, Zitkala-Sa could not digest the meaning of these polished manners which were alien to her culture.

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