Analysis on Like Water for Choclate

Categories: Magical RealismWater

Like water for chocolate is a novel is divided in monthly installments, with imaginative mix of Romance, home remedies and recipes, published in 1989, it is Laura Esquivel’s first novel which earned the title of the best seller in the author’s native Mexico. The story is set in Mexico at the turn of the 19th century, when Mexico is burning in the fever of revolution. Using the techniques of magic realism the author has created a novel of passion, love and a woman’s search for her fulfillment and identity.

Tita is the youngest daughter of the De La Garza family who lives with her brutal mother, her two sisters and Nacha who cooks for the family. According to a family tradition, marriage is forbidden for the youngest daughter of the family, she has to serve her widowed mother until the last day of her mother’s life. Right after her birth Tita makes a strong connection with Nacha and the kitchen becomes her playground, and after she is forbidden from marrying to her love, this playground becomes her entire world.

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But after years of obeying her mother, Tita starts fighting back to gain the respect that she deserves.

Laura Esquivel She was born in 1951 in Mexico, she is the daughter of Julio Caesar Esquivel, her grandmother had a chapel in their house, between the kitchen and the dining room, the mixture of the smells from the chapel and nuts, garlic and chilies from the kitchen gave her the inspiration of her first novel.

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Character Analysis A-Nacha Nacha is the cook of the family and the ranch, shortly after brought into the world prematurely, Tita builds a strong relationship with Nacha. Mama Elena loses her husband shortly after Tita’s birth and she is not able to feed Tita.

Nacha takes responsibility for feeding the newborn. Growing up mostly in the kitchen, Tita gets exposed to the magical world of cooking and being so close To Nacha, Tita finds the kitchen the best place to escape from her overbearing mother. Tita is so dependent on Nacha that she becomes her surrogate mother and the kitchen becomes Tita’s playground, Nacha passes Down all she knows about traditional Mexican recipes to Tita, even after Nacha dies with a broken heart, her spirit continuous supporting Tita and comes to help her while Tita is delivering Rosanna’s first child. B-Pedro

A selfish man who is Tita’s love, after he realizes that according to Tita’s family tradition she can’t get married until her mother dies, Pedro decides to marry Tita’s sister Rosaura, just to be close to Tita, Pedro loves Tita but he doesn’t have a strong character and he lets Mama Elena to decide for his life. His weakness is perfectly shown when he refuses to run away with Tita, he doesn’t show any resistance when Mama Elena decides to relocate his family. C-Dr. John Brown A doctor who lives close by, he is a mixture of ethnicity, his grandmother is a Native American; he speaks two languages and lives in two culture.

He has recently lost his wife and he has a son. When he comes to attend Rosaura at the birth of her first child, he gets impressed by Tita’s courage and ability in assisting Rosaura’s difficult labor. Dr. John brown is called by Mama Elena to take Tita to an insane asylum but instead he takes Tita to his home and nurses her until her full recovery. Impressed by Dr. Brown’s kindness, Tita decides to marry him, but her passion for Pedro makes her to call off the marriage. D-Gertrudis De La Garza She is Tita’s strong-willed elder sister; her free spirit lets her to take sensual pleasure from life.

One of Tita’s special recipes awakens her emotions in her and she runs away with a revolutionary soldier. She is the child of Mama Elena and her lover Jose Trevino, Tita’s father dies because of a heart attack after he discovers that Gertrudis is the product of his wife’s illicit affair with a half-black man. Mama Elena disowns Gertrudis after she runs away but returns to the ranch after Mama Elena’s death, now she is a general in the revolutionary army and she is married. She does not limit herself to the definition of race, class, gender or any other limitation set by the society’s standards, she is self-centered and motivated by honesty.

E-Rosaura She is Tita’s skill-less, soulless, who can’t decide on her own, she gets all her motivations from her dictator mother, she becomes Pedro’s wife upon Mama Elena’s decision and again agrees to move to a different town as her mother wishes so, her senses of imagination and humor are next to zero and she doesn’t react to things that can make life colorful, but at the same time she has a respectively better life than Tita, she gets married , she has children and she has people around her to serve her. F-Mama Elena

Mama Elena De La Garza is a middle-class, tyrannical woman who rules the ranch after the death of her husband, she controls her daughter’s lives; she enforces the tradition that dictates the youngest daughter should not get married until the death of her mother. She forces Pedro to marry Tita’s sister and to add more pain to Tita’s life; she forces her to do all the cooking and preparation for their wedding. To keep Tita and Pedro away from each other she forces Pedro and Raseora and their newborn to move out of town, but their son Roberto dies due to being away from Tita who is the only person that can feed Roberto.

Mama Elena breaks Tita’s nose and banishes her from the ranch after Tita accuses her to be the cause of Roberto’s death. After Mama Elena dies, Tita finds letters that reveals Mama Elena’s secret and passionate love affair from her past, this helps Tita to see a little of her mother’s human side. G- Narrator The narrator is Espranza’s daughter, she is Tita’s grandniece. After Tita’s cookbook is found in the ruins of the De La Garza ranch by Esperanza, she tells the narrator the story of Tita’s life. H- Alex Brown

Alex brown is the son of Dr. Brown; he lost her mother at his birth. He marries Esperanza at the end of the novel. J- Chencha Martinez She is a servant at the ranch, she becomes very close to Tita, she pays a secret visit to Dr. Brown’s house to see Tita after Mama Elena banishes Tita from the ranch; she seems to play an important role in recovering Tita’s sanity by bringing a soup for her from the family ranch. Construction A point of view The unique point of view of this novel lets us to discover the significance f Esperanza. She passes down family stories to her daughter who becomes the narrator of this novel, and she interconnects her great-aunt’s remedies, recipes and feelings into one book. The justification of her book gets easier after reading “Tita will go on living as long as there is someone who cooks her recipes. ” Setting Beginning of the 19th century and Mexican revolution provides a perfect setting for the story’s focus on despotism and resistance.

Rebels, bandits and soldiers are mentioned regularly in the story; they also often become the center of an event in this novel, which is a sign of their importance to the narrator. Tita’s decision for disobeying her dictator mother is shows a revolution in a smaller scale like the ongoing revolution against the tyranny in Mexico. Structure By including a recipe at the opening of each chapter the author is emphasizing on the importance of the food to the narrative, such structure shows the female’s creativity and their bonding with domestic arts. Symbolism

In this novel, food is the dominant symbol, for instance “like water for chocolate” means water has to be brought to the boiling point several times then it is ready to be used for chocolate, and it figuratively means emotional climax which is about to explode into expressions, heat is a symbol of physical love and desire throughout the text: in Gertrudis’ flee from the ranch or Pedro gazing at Tata’s body in the shower and post-venereal death of Pedro, and so many other instances. The love between Pedro and Tita is like water for chocolate but it constantly dampened by Mama Elena.

The inner heat of the characters plays an important role in this novel and most of Tita’s struggle focuses on dealing with this heat. This use of heat point to create duality symbolizes the source of strength and destruction, and finally when the love between Pedro and Tita is freed this duality reaches to its climax. A scene that symbolizes Mama Elena’s domination is when Tita is preparing roosters for the wedding; she is responsible for the removal of Roosters’ reproductive organ, the process of this task escalades Tita’s anger, she thinks that she should have been neutered instead of the roosters so there would be a justification for not etting him to marry the love of her life. Nacha’s spirit and Mama Elena’s spirit appear to Tita, this is a symbol of the long term effects that others can have on your life, Tita doesn’t let her mother’s spirit appear to her because it is the reminder of her painful past, and this is the symbol of human’s power in eliminating others negative effects in our lives.

The style. Like water for chocolate is a novel in magic realism form which is a fiction style, in this novel we see how fantasy mingles with reality, for instance when the shower room catches on fire due to Gertrudis’s body heat, and then she runs away with the revolutionary soldier who has smelled Getrudis from miles away , we can see the shift from myth to reality, or when crying is described as a river of tears, or when the spirit of Nacha appears to Tita to help her for delivering Raseora’s first child, these are all imaginations or fairy tales that are mixed with the reality of Tita’s life.

Other examples for magic realism in this novel are: Tita being a virgin and able to nurse Roberto, gathering salt from Tita’s tears at her birth, ghosts and spirits, the bath set on fire, the revolutionary soldier’s sense of smell which leads him to Gertrudis. Paradox In this novel the kitchen is a paradoxical symbol, Tita is confined in there and all she can do is domestic tasks, kitchen can hide or even take away her identity, but instead it becomes a place for Tita to impress others with her creativity and passion. Tita builds a relationship with food; this relationship becomes an outlet to her emotions. Themes

Responsibility and duty Family tradition is Tita’s main conflict, she is responsible for giving care to her widowed mother, and to do so she is not allowed to get married, but she doesn’t want to fulfill what tradition consider being her responsibility. She is also worries about Rosaura’s decision on enforcing the same tradition and not letting her daughter to get married. Victimization Mama Elena victimizes Tita by forcing her into obeying her selfish requests. Mama Elena locks Tita into the kitchen and treats her like a servant for the rest of the family; she ignores Tita as an individual and takes away her ense of selfhood. Not like any other story in epic form, Esquivel creates this novel of women, and particularly one woman, to the properties of great figures and story of battles. This style of writing helps reader to percept the feminist properties of this novel. This novel casts females in the center of the characters and Esquivel pictures a world in which the physical existence of men is occasionally presented. Esquivel doesn’t present a novel about a picture perfect sisterhood, but rather she offers her readers to see how women can be restricted by other women who enforce or set the standards of a society.

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Analysis on Like Water for Choclate. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

Analysis on Like Water for Choclate

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