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Like Water For Chocolate

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The novel called like water for chocolate, by Laura Esquivel tells the story of Tita De La Garza, the youngest daughter and the protagonist of the novel, who has been living with his family in Mexico during the time of twentieth century. In the course of twelve chapters, each is marked as a "monthly installment", the reader discover Tita's struggle to pursue true love and maintain her freedom. Each installment features a recipe to start each chapter. The major affairs of these recipes are woven throughout the narrative, by the niece of Tita known as Esperanza. She opens the novel by informing the reader about the birth of Tita, who has born in the kitchen while crying in the flood of tears which would foreshadows the grief and desire that will pass through her later life. Tita also has spent most of her childhood in kitchen, because her mother, Mama Elena hands her off instantly to Nacha, who is a house cook. Outside the kitchen, Tita follows the difficult routine that her mother, Mama Elena sets for her daughters, which is full of food preparation, cleaning, and prayer. However, their house routine is interrupted one day when a guy named Pedro Muzquiz arrived at their house to ask for Tita's hands. But Mama Elena refuses this marriage proposal, offering instead the hand of her second daughter, Rosaura, since their family tradition required for the youngest daughter to stay unmarried so that she can take care of her parents in their old age. Tita at the other hand is disappointed by this rigid custom, and being as a young woman, she rebels against the family tradition that limits her to a living without love.

Shortly afterwards, the wedding of Pedro and Rosaura takes place, which would also marks the first example when Tita misguidedly pours her emotions into the food she prepares. This results into the nonstop sickness and a terrible sense of loss among the

wedding guests, which has been ultimately transformed from an act of emotional aggression that Tita has endured into an act of social aggression. But the alteration of Tita's emotions into the food does not end after the fateful wedding of her sister. As a matter of fact, the next victim has happened to be her own sister, Gertrudis. This time, "the meal serves as an aphrodisiac for Gertrudis which arouses her in an insatiable sexual desire, and she began to feel an intense heat pulsing through her limbs." (Esquivel 51) This feel of sensation later invokes her to escape De La Garza family and its tradition; something that Tita has not been able to done. Despite the fact that Tita can only express her sexuality within the household sphere, Gertrudis is able to surpass these limitations without a second thought. Her disappearance can be seen as a success, in which she discards the ideas of social modesty in order follow her uncontrolled wishes. Fortunately after this incident, a surprising happiness comes to Tita's life with the birth of her nephew Roberto, the son of Rosaura and Pedro. Tita eventually takes the liability of nursing his nephew, but once she offers her breast to pacify the child, she find out that she is miraculously full with milk and is able to nourish Roberto. Pedro then later discovers this secret, but he helps her to hide this secret from the rest of the family, by which means he tries to increase the illicit relationship between the two yet further. This connection also let into the communication between Tita and Pedro, where she let him observe her breast, which is an attraction in their erotic relationship and is expressed like having "Tita being transformed from chaste to experience" (Esquivel 77) without the advantage of any physical contact; and with the fact that Tita has been able to produces milk as though she had been pregnant, can be infer as one of the magical realism of this novel.

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Unluckily, clever Mama Elena senses something between Pedro and Tita, and thus she decides to sent Rosaura, Pedro, and baby Roberto to San Antonio under the excuse of looking for healthier medical attention for Rosaura. In the wake of their departure, Tita becomes hopeless and pays no attention to her duties in the household. At the meantime, federal troops attack the ranch, but the situation gets bad to worse when the word arrives from San Antonio that Roberto has passed away, since "whatever he ate, it didn't agree with him and so, he died." (Esquivel 99) After hearing this news, Tita lashes out at Mama Elena, screaming that Mama Elena is to be held responsible for the baby's death. Tita's confrontation with her mother marks the first time that Tita is able to state her viewpoints, and her misery at learning of Roberto's death inspires Tita to confront Mama Elena's unkindness, and she manages hesitantly to create the control of her voice. As of result, Mama Elena instructs Tita to be sent to an asylum, and Dr. John Brown rescues her from the ranch and takes her away. Auspiciously, under the loving care of Dr. Brown, Tita little by little comes out from her disturbed inner shell. This is for the first time Tita is removed from the domestic world of the kitchen and the ranch; and at Dr. Brown's house, she is able to discover a new way of presenting in the world, not restricted by the limits forced by Mama Elena. Although throughout her stay at John's house, Tita remains unspoken; yet a some kind of link develops between her and John as they spend a huge amount of time together. John also takes the privilege to share with Tita about recipe for making matches, and with this recipe, he clarifies the theory that an inner fire burns in each person and describes the ways in which one must protect this fire. This theory allows Tita to realize that "she knew what set off her explosions, but each time she had

try to light a match, it had steadily been blown out." (Esquivel 116) Thus, this inner fire has become the innermost figure of the novel, one that passes through, and comes to represent Tita's ongoing journey toward selfhood.

Ironically, Chencha, the ranch maid pays



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