Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Like Water For Chocolate is a fantasy-type love story by Laura Esquivel. It teaches a lot about family life in Mexico, the country where it took place. The owner of the De la Garza ranch where the family lived was Mama Elena, who raised three daughters on her own because her husband had died. Tita, the youngest daughter and main character, was the youngest of the three and a wonderful cook. Tita was the narrator’s great-aunt, so the story took place in the earlier part of the 20th century. Tita spent most of her life in the kitchen putting together amazing recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A liitle bit of help from Nacha, the cook, made her more dynamic in her cooking.

One day, Tita fell in love with a young man named Pedro. Pedro and his father came to the ranch to ask Mama Elena if Pedro could ask for Tita’s hand, but the rules in their family were that the youngest daughter could never get married. According to tradition, Tita would have to stay at home and take care of her mother until the day her mother died. This broke Tita and Pedro’s hearts. Mama Elena told Pedro he could marry Tita’s sister, Rosaura though, and he did just so he could be closer to Tita. He never felt any love for Rosaura.

Meanwhile, Tita stayed at home everyday, cooking and feeling depressed, and Mama Elena did not make things any better. She always yelled at Tita, and made Tita do everything for her. Tita could hardly even talk to Pedro. Either, because Mama Elena was constantly watching, and would yell at them every time they talked. Later, Pedro moved away with Rosaura and her other sister, Gertrudis, had run away with some man on horseback, and later became a prostitute. Nacha died, leaving only Mama Elena, Tita, and Chencha, the servant, left on the ranch. One day, Tita went insane because of her overly strict mother, so her mother sent her with Dr. Brown, so he could take her to a mental institution.

He was so in love with Tita that he never took her there. He took care of her in his house and they later planned to get married. Then, when he was gone on a little trip, Tita and Pedro met up, and got back together. When Dr. Brown came back, Tita told him the news about her and Pedro, and he told her to decide who she wanted. Obviously, she chose her long lost love, Pedro. So finally, Tita and Pedro got married, and even though Mama Elena would never talk to Tita again, she did not care. She finally got to be with the love of her life forever.

Like Water For Chocolate contained a lot of symbolism. Through her cooking, Tita had a lot of power. When Tita cooked food, she could make people’s feelings change. At Pedro and Rosaura’s wedding, the tears Tita cried into the wedding cake because of her lost love make everyone who ate the cake start vomiting, thinking about their lost loves. Also, because Tita could hardly be near Pedro when they were on the ranch, her cooking aroused Pedro, and at the kitchen table he could hardly control himself.

Each chapter of the book begins with one of Tita’s special recipes and how to prepare the recipe. Esquirel had a very unique way of dividing up the chapters. Every chapter is named with a different month of the year, so there are twelve chapters in all. I feel she did a great job describing and defining each chapter in its own little way.

Like Water For Chocolate is definitely different from any other book I have read. It kept me interested, making me want to not put the book down. I feel you should definitely read this number-one bestseller in Mexico in 1990. Latter this book was translated into English for our reading enjoyment.

Like Water for Chocolate: Review

Food equals memory and memory equals immortality. In the recipes we pass down from generation to generation, in the food of our mothers, we reawaken the past, make the present more real, perhaps capture a bit of the future. Food is about history, with handed down recipes such as in Like Water for Chocolate, the chef can remember the past. Tita, when she cooked could remember Nacha and her mother. Food is a major part of the story, and is somewhat obvious as the title itself is about food. The title (Like Water for Chocolate) itself, is a Mexican expression that refers to the making of hot chocolate: Water is used rather than milk, and must be brought to a vigorous boil.

Therefore, an extremely agitated person is said to be “like water for chocolate,” so is a person in a state of sexual arousal. A recurring symbol in Like Water for Chocolate is food (the title is a good tip-off of that). Hardly a scene goes by without someone eating or preparing a meal and some of the more hilarious sequences surround a pair of banquets. Each of these scenes has a meaning beyond the obvious, however. Food is equated with life and excitement, two subjects into which this story pursues. Sex, food and magic are mixed in sparingly in the story, which revolves about Tita, third daughter of Mama Elena.

The time is the early 1900’s and the Mexican Revolution is raging, but in the kitchen of the family ranch, the emphasis is on cooking. The family servant, Nacha, Tita’s surrogate mother, teaches her the secrets and makes her the next in an ancient line of great family chefs. From Nacha and her mother Tita learns the art of cooking. While all the food did not center around Tita, most of it was. Even from the time of birth of Tita she was a part of the cooking, for example when she was born and Nacha scooped up the salt left behind from the broken water of Mama Elena after the birth of Tita.

Nacha used this salt in the foods for months. So it seems Tita was destined from the beginning to learn the traits of cooking since her birth, making her emotional connection to the food she cooked later in her life a new form of realism. By family tradition, Tita, as the youngest daughter, is fated to care for her mother till her mother’s death. She cannot marry, cannot have children. And yet she falls in love with Pedro who, when he is refused Tita’s hand, marries her sister Rosaura instead.

Tita was ordered to prepare her sister’s marriage feast, and is seen as cooks shedding tears into the batter for the wedding cake, which subsequently makes all the guests sick, wretched and nauseated. Later, when Pedro and Rosaura have taken up residence at the ranch, Tita creates a dish with quails and rose petals, and through it conquers Pedro’s heart. The food overtook Pedro with love, lust and desire, ending with sex between him and Tita later that evening.

Everybody in the family gets turned on, especially Tita’s sister Gertrudis, whose body becomes so hot she sets the shower stall on fire, and is subsequently picked up on horseback, naked, by a Mexican revolutionary. She will, as you might expect, live happily ever after. There is seems as though no scene where food is not a part of in some way. From wedding cake to watermelon, food is abundant throughout the story. And through the food different emotions are carried.

The role of food seems to also shadow the roles of the rest of the characters in the story, since without the use of this food to convey an added sense of power over the story, the story itself would not be as interesting for the most part. All depending on where the food originated from (chef) and/or the chef’s emotions during the preparation process. Tita communicates her feeling through the food, and she really seems to transform the food with her own emotions.

Radical Feminism in Like Water for Chocolate

There are many different definitions of feminism. Some people regard feminism as the idea that women deserve the same amount of respect that men deserve. There are the other schools of feminist thought that hold women superior to men. Yet another believes that the gender roles controlling women are artificially created and not innate knowledge, and thus men and women are equals with only history the determining factor and how gender equality is established.

There are clear feminist overtones in Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Esquivel pointes to a more radical definition of feminism in Like Water for Chocolate. The story focuses on mostly female characters that assume the gender roles typically associated with men. Esquivel presents these strong female figures in such a way as to make the reader begin to question any preconceptions previously held about the capabilities of women.

Feminism has been a concept long thought about. Generally dealing with the idea that men have historically been thought of as superior to women, the feminist philosophy contends that men and women are equal and thus deserve equal treatment. Esquivel makes it clear that all the women characters are not dependent in any way to any men. This independence of men that she creates is a key to understanding the feminist nature of the novel.

Early on with Tita’s father dying we see that now Mama Elena is charged with the care and protecting of her family. At this point Esquivel has already created the first independent strong female character. Mama Elena goes on, for better or worse, attempting the best she can to raise a family in the tumultuous time of the Mexican revolution. She struggles against her rebellious daughter in her own attempt to keep her family’s heritage and traditions alive.

Not only does she raise a family but she also runs the ranch on which the live and on derive their sustenance. Early on in the novel we see that Esquivel presents a character that deserves the same amount of respect normally giving to a male character in this same role. By placing this normally male role in a woman Esquivel questions the typical role of the woman in a home of just raising children by bestowing additional responsibilities.

We see elsewhere in the novel the strength in Gertrudis, Tita’s sister. Gertrudis escapes the ranch after reacting mysteriously to one of Tita’s recipes. She runs away with a rebel soldier, works in a brothel at the Mexico-Texas border, and eventually returns to the ranch as a general in the revolutionary army. Here we witness the creation of a second strong female character. When we first see Gertrudis we see just another female character. But after her return we find that she has become a leader of in the revolution. Again Esquivel takes a potion that is typically male associated and fills that role with and equally respectable female character.

There is then the focal character, Tita. Tita is the pivotal character in defining Like Water for Chocolate as a feminist novel. Tita more than her mother, is the glue that holds her family together. It is she that cares for the ranch and feeds everyone. Tita is the one who ensures that everything goes to plan. After her mother becomes paralyzed, even with her hatred towards her she still continues to care for her.

Tita is the strongest feminine figure in this novel. She continues to strive for what she wants form life and stops at nothing to get it. Through Esquivel creates a sense that Tita is not someone who you would want to get in the way of. Esquivel does this in such a way so that readers come to love and respect the character of Tita as opposed to seeing her as a selfish demanding woman.

Like Water for Chocolate takes an intriguing look at radical feminism. Most importantly, through the portrayal of Elena and, Esquivel takes an approach at shows that although she fits a feminist roll, she does not need to be liked. Elena is opposed by the more endearing and lovable characters like Nacha, Gertrudis, and Tita. With these characters we see Gertrudis make a leap forward and size power as the head of a revolutionary army. Tita of course finally fights her mother and begins her life anew with her own wants and desires.

Works Cited

Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate. New York: Anchor Books, 1995.

Critical Analysis: Like Water for Chocolate

An oppressed soul finds means to escape through the preparation of food in the novel, Like Water for Chocolate, “A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies,” published in 1989, written by Laura Esquivel. The story is set in revolutionary Mexico at the turn of the century. Tita, the young heroine, is living on her familys ranch with her two older sisters, her overbearing mother, and Nacha, the family cook.

At a very tender age, Tita is instilled with a deep love for food for Tita, the joy of living was wrapped up in the delights of food (7, Esquivel). The sudden death of Titas father, left Titas mothers unable to nurse the infant Tita due to shock and grief. Therefore Nacha, who [knows] everything about cooking (6, Esquivel) offers to assume the responsibility of feeding and caring for the young Tita. From that day on, Titas domain was the kitchen (7, Esquivel) Throughout the novel, food is used as a constant metaphor for the intense feelings and emotions Tita is forced to conceal.

Laura Esquivel uses magical realism, symbolism and conflict to postulate the idea that family tradition can hinder love but love surpasses any obstacles.

Upon the birth of Tita, her mother flooded the kitchen table and floor when her water broke. The fluid had turned to salt and had to be swept up off the floor. This type of thing happening in the real world is not going to happen. The fluid turning into the salt was definitely a magical realism element. The mysteries of cooking are treated in Like Water for Chocolate. The magical realism has the definition of being magical and unreal. The love that Tita had for her sister’s husband upon their marriage and throughout the time of their marriage lives.

Tita’s love never changed. It was the magical way Tita felt in her heart about the man she loved and the way she kept quiet to keep her mother happy, and not to hurt her sister’s feelings about the love she had for Pedro. Love is magical any way one looks at it. Tita turned all of her feelings into cooking. The magical way of love that Tita felt went into the cake batter. As she mixed it she cried and the tears dropped into the bowl.

The cake was baked, and people who ate it reflected each one’s feelings toward each other. The cooking had a mystical power that seemed to have some magical realism involved because of all the strange happenings due to the cooking.

The inner feeling of a person that has a boundary or threshold inside of them ready to ignite was what happened to the shower when Tita’s sister was in it. The threshold of the inner feelings of this girl was exploding. During her shower, the inner feelings of passion exploded, and flames from the passion that she was feeling caused the shower to catch on fire. In the excitement of the burning shower house, the girl ran out of the shower without any clothes, not even a towel. The magical realism was all the passion the girl had inside her that just erupted like a volcano. Tita’s sister ran out of the shower while it was burning.

At this time, a man riding a horse bareback came riding up and picked Tita’s sister up kidnapping her. The fact that she had no clothes on was unreal itself. However, a person has to wonder where this man came from, all at once, at the right time to pick her up. It’s as if the passion that the girl felt seemed to call out to this man to come and get her at this point and time. The magical realism was here in the fact that it was magical, yet it seemed so real.

Symbolisms of heat and fire infuse the novel as expressions of intense emotion. Because heat is the medium that causes food to undergo chemical change, substantial waves of it are present at many of the moments when food is being prepared. In the science of cooking, heat is a force to be used precisely; the novel’s title phrase like water for chocolate refers to the fact that water must be brought to the brink of boiling several times before it is ready to be used in the making of hot chocolate.

However, the heat of emotions, cannot be so controlled. Heat is a symbol for desire and physical love throughout the text: in Gertrudis’ flight from the ranch; Pedro’s lustful gazing at Tita in the shower; and the post-coital death of Pedro, among many other instances. The inner fire of the individual constitutes an important theme in the novel, and much of Tita’s struggle centers on cultivating this fire. These uses of fire point toward a duality in its symbolism, as a source of strength and a force of destruction. The coupling of death and desire that occurs when the love between Tita and Pedro is freed epitomizes this duality.
(Smith, Joan).

The conflict between Tita and her mother is the novels central point of emphasis. Throughout the novel Tita strives for love, freedom, and individuality, and her mother stands as the prime opposition to the fulfillment of these goals.

Like Water For Chocolate: Book Review

There are all sorts of novels, English, American, Mexican, ect…, but they all have something that distinguish them from the rest. Mexican novelist tend to write about magic and love. In Laura Esquirel novel Like Water For Chocolate magic is in many peoples opinion a big part of the theme. Tita the main character of the novel, and she unknowing uses her cooking as magic, the magic used effects almost everyone who eats Titas food.

Like Water For Chocolate is a novel that uses magic in ways that will effect almost everyone around the wizard that products the magic in a good or bad way. Tita first love was Pedro, they meet at a party thrown by the De la Garza family which Tita was sadly part of. The De la Garza tradition was that the youngest daughter had to stay in the house of her mother and take care of her till the day the mother died, which means that the daughter could not get married.

Unfortunately for Tita she was the youngest and her mother was health as a flying bird. Pedro was madly in love with Tita, and Tita with Pedro, he wanted to take her had in marriage, but in order to do this he has to ask her mother, Mama Elena, since her farther is dead. Going by tradition Mama Elena said no, but she did then ask him if he wants Rousara Tita sister instead. Thinking that by marriage Titas Tita had to be part of the wedding if she liked it or not, according to Mama Elena.

While Tita and Nacha where preparing the batter for the cake Tita told her mother that it would be best if she didnt attend the wedding. Mama Elena then told her that she was and that she could not cry at the wedding. After her mother left Tita began to cry above the batter, and tears fell into the cake batter. It was after the wedding at the basic wedding party, Nacha brought out the cake.

Everyone got a piece, after the first bites looks of sickness were produced on everyones once happy face. They all got sick and ran to the river side and threw up, making Rosauras wedding like deserter island. Although the author doesnt say it was because of Titas tears, but we can say that it was because at that time Tita was angry at Pedro for marry Rosaura, and she was jealous of Rosaura because she was allowed to marry Pedro. So because of the way Tita felt people got Magic is use not only as a way to hurt someone but also to make them feel good.

A few weeks after the wedding Pedro tried to do what ever he could do to make Tita feel his love. One day Pedro had an idea of bring Tita a bouquet of roses, and his excuse was to celebrate her first year as ranch cook. Rosaura pregnant at the time though she should get the rose and angry ran out of the room. Mama Elena with just a look sent Tita to get rid of the roses. Tita thinking they were to beautiful to throw away but then Tita heard Nachas voice, Nacha is dead at this time, telling her a recipe involving rose petals.

After the meal was cooked Gertrudis, Tita, Rosaura, Pedro, and Mama Elena sat down to eat. Pedro was the first to complement Tita for the delicious meal which made him horny for love, then Gertudis became horny. Rosaura on the other hand was feeling sick and getting nauseous, and then asked to be excused. Then Gertudis ran out to the out house and began to get naked, she began to sweat and smell like roses. Gertudis began to run, naked she was, ran out to a man on a horse named Juan who she later married and had children with also.

Even though Rosaura got sick, the whole town smelled like roses from Gertudis sweat, meaning that the magic does not only cause bad things to happen but also good as well. About twenty years have passed after Rosaura death, she had a bad digestive problems, Esperanza her daughter got to marry her true love Alex Brown Dr. John Browns son. At the wedding Tita was preparing Chiles in Walnut Sauce, no one could keep their hand off them. Everyone including the priest were thirsty for love after dancing and eating some Chiles in Walnut Sauce.

Some were smart and got into there cars a made love but others were unlucky and had to make love behind a bush. Tita and Pedro felt like they could finely make love freely, trying to hold there sexual desire only made them more horny, they ran into the dark room. There was Nacha lighting the last of the 250 candles that lit up the dark room. After make sweet love Pedro dead, but Tita still alive wanted to be with her love and began to eat the candles and thinking of the happiest moments in her life and then she also died.

Seeing that the magic made everyone want love it is appropriate to say that at this time magic is a good thing. In conclusion magic can be used in a good and bad way. For example the meal made with the rose pedals made Rosaura sick but it also made the town smell good and helped Gertrudis meet the love of her life. Also that magic effects every one around the wizard or magician or even the cook. We see this with the cake batter, rose pedals, and walnut sauce.

Like Water for Chocolate: Movie Review

Romeo and Juliet and The West Side Story , both romantic sagas that unfold into a struggle between love and family tradition and ways. In the two stories a young girl and a young man from different paths find each other and fall in love, and in both, they are forbidden by either family to be together. In the agony of being forced to live apart the lovers eventually come to a point where they can no longer be without one another. Their love is so strong that regardless if they defy their families wish, they will do anything to be together, even if this includes death. These European and American stories of the tragic effect of a love so strong that it can kill sets the table for the Mexican film Like Water For Chocolate.

This movie tells about desire, love, and rebellion, and is centered around the love of Tita and Pedro, and the struggle of Titas family tradition that does all it can to keep them apart. In this movie we are given an opportunity to see how the attitudes of the characters change over time and how true love, once revealed, can never be held. In the early years of the twentieth century, on a small ranch in Mexico, the story of three sisters and their repressive mother unfolds, and Like Water For Chocolate begins.

Tita is the youngest daughter of Mama Elena, and, as such, because of a family tradition, she is forbidden to marry or have children until after her mother’s death. Tita is agreeable to this situation until she falls in love with the dashing young Pedro. Tita goes to her mother to tell her of Pedros intention to meet with her and ask for her daughters and his loves hand in marriage. Mama Elena is angered by this announcement and upon meeting with Pedro and his father, she informs them that no such union between him and her daughter Tita is possible because of their family tradition.

When Pedro learns that he cannot marry Tita, he agrees to an engagement with her older sister, Rosaura, in the hope that by marrying her, he will have ample opportunities to spend with his real love. Tita cries bitter tears while making their wedding cake, and the wedding guests are overcome with feelings of sadness and memories of lost love when they eat the cake. Pedro and Rosaura live in the same house as Tita and Mama Elena and even though no one speaks a word about it, it is obvious to all that Pedro does not love Rosaura his wife, he only love Tita.

Constantly forbidden and scolded by Mama Elena, Tita is once again forced to supress her feelings for Pedro that are now to Tita, bigger than life. Although now, from the incident with the wedding cake Tita realizes that she is able to send her love and passion to Pedro through the food she cooks. On one occasion, Tita makes a dish using roses Muzquiz gave her, and her dinner guests all become sexually aroused. Her sister Gertrudis becomes so aroused that she catches afire, then runs off with a revolutionary. Caught up in the suspicion of his marriage intentions, Pedro finally after 3 months concemates his marriage between him and Rosaura and in this they have their first child, Nicholas.

Sicken by a harsh labor, Rosaura is unable to tend to her child and Tita is forced to care for the newborn, including breast feeding. Mama Elena is once again agitated by Tita and Pedro love and passion for one another that she suggests that Pedro and Rosaura move to San Antonio where they will be closer to the doctors. Not long after their relocation, word gets back to the family ranch that Nicholas has died due to starvation and illness because he would not eat. Tita is devastated by this and goes into a spell of insaneness and is sent away to a hospital where she meets and romantically connects with the doctor.

Tita returns to the ranch after the tragic death of her mother and just in enough time to deliver Rosaura and Pedros second child, Esperanza. This time Rosauras labor was worse than before and the doctor informs Pedro and Tita that she will not be able to have anymore children and because of this Esperanza is the next to inherit the family tradition. Once again living in the same house Tita and Pedro can not stop their attraction for one another even after Titas acceptance of the doctors wedding proposal. This time they go beyond the food and Tita loses her virginity to Pedro.

Tita, scared by the idea of carrying her sisters husbands child, she confides in Gertrudis that has returned for the first time and is now a general in the revolution and is married to one of her men. Gertrudis convinces Tita to tell Pedro, who is in love with the idea of having a child by Tita. Tita on the other hand was unable to enjoy this happening because of her dead mothers haunting and curse that she placed on Titas unborn child. Feed up with this, Tita finally stands up to her mother and tells her that she hates her and to go away forever.

This declaration by Tita forces her mother away forever but not before she gets Pedro and goes he to catch fire during a drunken celebration. Tita goes about caring for him and during this time, she finds out that she was not pregnant, she was just late, and goes about shutting out Pedro and professing her love for the doctor who she is soon to be married to. Her denial of her love for Pedro, of course does not work and she can not bring herself to marry the doctor. Rosaura eventually dies due to intestinal problems and the family tradition ends with Tita.

Tita and Pedro finally get together after 20 years when Pedros daughter Rosaura marries. Unfortunately, during their love making, Pedro dies and in the spirit of Romeo and Juliet and The West Side Story, Tita kills herself. An admittedly unusual title for a film, Like Water for Chocolate fits the mood — odd, playful, and sweet. It equates the boiling point of water for hot chocolate with the height of passion.

Told by Titas great grandniece this is a story with occasional surrealistic fantasy sequences interspersed between the commonplace goings-on of regular lives, and the film weaves a subtle spell of enchantment until a disappointing conclusion. I believe that this was one of the most beautiful stories of love and its power that has every been told. Even though this is a foreign movie with sub-titles, it is such a strong story that you easily forget that it is in Spanish. This is truly a Romantic.

Like Water for Chocolate – Movie vs Book

Laura Esquirels, Like Water for Chocolate, is a modern day Romeo and Juliet filled with mouthwatering recipes. It has become a valued part of American literature. The novel became so popular that it was developed into a film, becoming a success in both America and Mexico. Alfonso Arau directs the film. After reading the novel and seeing the movie, I discovered several distinct differences between the two as well as some riveting similarities.

The novel begins with the main character, Tita, being born on the kitchen table. “Tita had no need for the usual slap on the bottom, because she was already crying as she emerged; maybe that was because she knew that it would be her lot in life to be denied marriage Tita was literally washed into this world on a great tide of tears that spilled over the edge of the table and flooded across the kitchen floor” (Esquirel 6). Although this is included in the film with tremendous accuracy, the movie begins with a different scene.

The movie opens with Titas father going to a bar to celebrate the birth of his daughter. On the way a friend informs him of his wifes, Mama Elena, affair with a man having Negro blood in his veins. The terrible news brings on a heart attack killing him instantly. In the book, this information is not given until the middle chapters. As the novel continues, another character is introduced, Gertrudis. Gertrudis, the older sister of Tita, is the first to rebel against her mothers wishes.

Wanting to escape the securities of home, Gertrudis is overwhelmed by her lustful passions. A soldier, not too far away, Juan, inhales the aroma of her desire and heads her way. “The aroma from Gertrudis body guided himThe woman desperately needed a man to quench the red-hot fire that was raging inside herGertrudis stopped running when she saw him riding toward her.

Naked as she was, with her loosened hair falling to her waist, luminous, glowing with energy, she might have been an angel and devil in one womanWithout slowing his gallop, so as not to waste a moment, he leaned over, put his arm around her waist, and lifted her onto the horse in front of him, face to face, and carried her awayThe movement of the horse combined with the movement of their bodies as they made love for the first time, at a gallop and with a great deal of difficulty ” (Esquirel 55).

This imagery is tremendous. Every sense that Esquirel touches in this passage is illuminated in the movie with perfection. Its as though Arau took a picture from Esquirels mind as she wrote and cultivated it to film. Later in Esquirels novel, Rosalio announces to Mama Elena that a group of soldiers are approaching the ranch. Mama Elena picks up her shotgun and hides it under her petticoat. She meets the revolutionaries, along with two other women, at the entrance of the home.

Mama Elena warns the soldiers not to enter the house. The Captain of the bandits sees the grit and determination in Mama Elenas eyes and agrees not to enter. However, the regiment does manage to round up some feed before leaving. In contrast, the movie at this point agrees with the revolutionaries entering the ranch, but disagrees with the rest of the events, possibly to add some action. First, Mama Elena confronts the bandits but with only one other lady by her side. Secondly, after a verbal confrontation, the rebels proceed to rape the lady friend, beat Mama Elena unconscious, and throw her in the lake, killing her.

According to the novel, Mama Elena doesnt die until later in the book, from a drug overdose. “At first, Tita and John had no explanation for this strange death, since clinically Mama Elena had no other malady than her paralysis. But going through her bureau, they found the bottle of syrup of ipecac and they deduced that Mama Elena must have taken it secretly. John informed Tita that it was a very strong emetic that could cause death” (Esquirel 135).

Soon after Mama Elenas death Gertrudis returns to the ranch. In Esquirels tale Gertrudis rides up on a horse at the head of the revolutionary soldiers. Tita finds out that Gertrudis is in charge of the troops. Unaware of her mothers death, Gertrudis has come back to show Mama Elena that she has triumphed in life. However, despite some parallels, the movie shows Gertrudis returning to the ranch in a car. Undoubtedly, giving the audience a greater sense of the prodigal sisters success. Believing her mothers death would release her from the shackles of tradition, Tita began reaching out to Pedro, her Romeo, whom Mama Elena had forbid her to see.

Nevertheless, Esquirel allows Mama Elena to continue nagging Tita from beyond the grave. “See what youve done now? You and Pedro are shameless. If you dont want blood to flow in this house, go where you cant do any harm to anybody, before its to late”(Esquirel 199). Tita responds by telling Mama Elena she hates her and to leave her alone. With these words Mama Elena disappears forever. Esquirels description of the ghost is vague, “The imposing figure of her mother began to shrink until it became no more than a tiny light”(Esquirel 199).

Unlike the novel, the movie does a great job of adding a certain mystique around the ghost. The ghostly clone of Mama Elena, created by the Arau, adds a thrilling touch by using the human element of fear. Toward the end of the novel, Tita and Pedro are finally united in the throws of passion. The descriptive nature that Esquirel uses leaves a perfect picture of the surroundings, and inhales the reader into believing himself to be a peeping tom.

“The silk sheets and bedspread were white, like the floral rug that covered the floor and the 250 candles that lit up the now inappropriately named dark room. Pedro placed Tita on the bed and slowly removed her clothing, piece by piece. The striking of the brass headboard against the wall and the guttural sounds that escaped from both of them mixed with the sound of the thousand doves flying free above them” (Esquirel 243).

Araus interpretation incorporates all of Esquirels eloquent artistry in perfect harmony. Araus vision brings Like Water for Chocolate to the climax which Esquirel had intended, leaving the audience in awe. Other differences, not discussed above, include Tita being shown in the movie as an average looking woman. The impression that the novel leaves is a woman that is breathtaking to the senses, a goddess. Of course, this opinion is subject to personal taste. As someone once said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Another striking difference between the movie and the book is that both are developed by different sexes.

This obviously could effect the compare and contrast views of this paper. For example, being male, I found that the two images that left the greatest impression were of sexual nature, Gertrudis making love with the soldier, and Tita being intimate with Pedro. The different views of the sexes may also be the answer to some of the contrasts between the movie and novel. For instance, the death of Mama Elena. Esquirels version fits the emotional death, suicide, geared toward the female audience, while Araus shows a more sexual and violent death, extinguishing the male desire for action.

In conclusion, I found the novel more entertaining than the movie. The reason the movie fell short in expectations is because Esquirel does a great job in allowing the reader to draw on their imaginations. However, Arau is able to capture this imagery occasionally throughout the movie. Furthermore, most of the changes added to the movie were grand, which added to the thrill and plot of the story. Overall, both are memorable and deserve their legacy.

Like Water for Chocolate and Master Harold: Oppression

In the two novels, Master Harold…and the boys, and Like Water for Chocolate, there are many symbolic similarities. In both books there are acts where individuals strongly oppressed, or discriminated against. Although the individuals are being oppressed for different reasons their emotions are shattered deeply. In Athol Fugard’s book Master Harold and the boys, an older man is discriminated against by a younger child only because the older man is black and the child is white.

In Laura Esquivel’s book Like water for chocolate, a girl by the name of “Tita” is oppressed by her own mother because of the soul reason of being the youngest child, therefore lying in her destiny to serve her mother till death, and being unable to decide her own destiny. However in both cases there are signs of rebellion, and protestation, even though both novels do not end the same end the same, both Sam and Tita get their point across.

Hally is a young white boy living in Africa, it is safe to say that he was raised by a black man by the name of Sam. Now Hally is starting to grow up and he is noticing things which he did not notice when he was younger. He realized that where he lives white people have certain rights over black people. Hally owns a cafe and he has got two black men working for him, one of which is Sam.

Hally walks in one morning and finds Willie and Sam dancing, preparing for a dance contest. “Hally- Think you stand a chance. Act your bloody age! (Hurls the rag at Willie) Cut out the nonsense now and get on with your work. And you too, Sam. Sop fooling around ” (Athol Fugard, Master Harold and the boys 18). Hally criticizes Sam by asking him sarcastically if he really thinks that he is good enough to win a dancing contest. Hally screams at Willie and Sam for making a mistake, this is ironic because Willie and Sam are in their forties while Hally is not even a teenager yet. Hally has power over Sam and Willie because of their difference in skin color.

Tita falls deeply in love with a man by the name of Pedro. Pedro asks Tita to get married, she would love to marry Pedro but she knows that her destiny is to take care of her mother till death. Tita will confront her mother and ask her permission to marry the man he loves. “If he intends to ask for your hand, tell him not to bother. He’ll be wasting his time and mine too. You know perfectly well that being the youngest daughter means you have to take care of me until the day I die” (Laura Esquivel, Like Water for chocolate 10). Tita loves Pedro dearly and would love to marry him, but her mother refuses to grant her permission because she is the youngest daughter and her task in life being to take care of her mother till death.

Sam is like a father figure to Hally but yet he doesn’t respect him, because of the color of his skin. “Hally- Don’t turn your back on me! I haven’t finished talking (He grabs Sam by the arm and tries to make him turn around. Sam reacts with a flash of anger” (54). Hally does not respect Sam, he not only orders him around but becomes violent when Sam does not listen to him. He treats Sam like a dog.

Mama Elena refuses to let her youngest daughter get married, to make the situation worse she Pedro and his dad show up at the ranch to ask permission from mama Elena to get married to Tita. Mama Elena refuses to approve on the marriage of her youngest daughter. “But if you really want Pedro to get married, allow me to suggest my daughter Rosaura, who’s just two years older than Tits. She is one hundred percent available, and ready for marriage” (13). Not only does mama Elena disapprove the marriage of Pedro and Tita but she offers Rosaura, which is an older daughter.

Hally is not grateful for what Sam has done for him in life. He understands that Sam cannot do anything to him, because he is white and Sam is black. Hally therefor Hally takes advantage of this, by degrading Sam whenever he can. “Hally- (quietly) Sam.. (Sam stops and looks expectantly at the boy. Hally spits in his face. A long and heartfelt groan from Willie. For a few seconds Sam doesn’t move)” (56). The worse act of discrimination one person can possibly do to another, is spitting in one’s face. This is extremely degrading.

Mama Elena sets up a marriage between the man that Tita loves and her sister Roraura. Tita is extremely depressed. “I won’t stand for disobedience, Mama Elena told her, nor am I going to allow you to ruin your sister’s wedding, with your acting like a victim. You’re in charge of all the preparations starting now, and don’t ever let me catch you with a single tear or even a long face, do you hear?” (27). Not only does mama Elena approve the marriage between Rosaura and Pedro, but she also holds Tita responsible for the preparations of the marriage of her sister.

Hally- Think you stand a chance” (Athol Fugard, Master Harold and the boys 9). Sam shows sign of rebellion against Hally. He is tired of being picked on and spoken down to just because of the color of his skin. “Hally-(Pause as Hally looks for something to say) To begin with, why don’t you also start calling me Master Harold, like Willie” (54). Sam proves appoint to Hally and Hally does not know how to reply so he relies on the fact that he is on a higher rank and asks Sam to call him Master Harold, instead if Hally.

This proves the power trip which Hally is going through. Sam is an old friend as well as a father figure, and know Sam has got to put the word “Master” in front of his name, to demonstrate to himself, Hally, and everyone else how Hally is at a higher level than Sam. “Sam- (Quietly and very carefully) If you make me say it once, I’ll never call you anything else again”(54). This is the only sign of rebellion that Sam shows. He lets Hally know that he is against it, and threatens to not call him anything else. At this point Sam realizes that Hally has grown up and changed.

Tita rebels against the ghost of mama Elena. The Ghost shows up to tell Tita that what she is doing is wrong. “See what you’ve done now? You and Pedro are Shameless. If you don’t want blood to flow in this house, go where you can’t do any harm to anybody, before it’s too late. The one who should be going is you. I’m tired of your tormenting me. Leave me in peace once and for all. Once and for all, leave me alone; I won’t put up with you! I’ve always hated you! Tita had said the magic words that would make Mama Elena disappear forever”(199). (199). After all this time Tita finally stands up against her mother, and puts her in her place. She chooses to fight back instead of just remaining quiet and obeying her mom’s orders.

Throughout the novels Like Water for Chocolate, and Mater Harold…and the boys, Tita and Sam experience discrimination. The difference between them were that after Sam protested, he was still treated the same, were as when Tita rebelled, she was set free. The ad thing about all this is that, Sam’s example is what happens in the real world. Maybe people can learn from these novels and stop discriminating people because they were born in class were they are expected to do perform only certain roles in society, or obey certain people. Also, if you’ve ever wondered if ovulation cramps are normal, the answer is yes, ovulation cramps are normal , and they usually occur to one in five women. Learn how women’s ovulation works and calculate your most fertile days with this excellent online tool available for free. We hope this tool will be very useful and provide the information that you were looking for.

Like Water for Chocolate Book Report: Traditions

Does your family have any traditions? Do you eat certain foods for certain holidays? Traditional values and family are important in many cultures, but they seem to play an especially important role to Mexicans (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia). One of the most important parts of their culture is food. Much of Mexicans daily routines and traditions revolve around the ritual of preparing the food and eating it (Mexican Cuisine and Cooking). In Laura Esquivels novel, Like Water for Chocolate, the food (recipes) and tradition are the main part of the book just as they are the main part of the Mexican tradition.

Esquivels novel is very different from most books. Her novel incorporates recipes into the book in order to tell a story. These recipes, however, are not only formulas, but they are memories and traditions being passed down from generation to generation. Each chapter begins with a new recipe, and these recipes are used to tell Titas life story, the main character and narrator in Like Water for Chocolate.

Tita becomes the focus of her family. This occurs because she is most closely connected with food preparation. This closeness to the food is seen from the first scene in the book where she is born. Tita made her entrance into this world, prematurely, right there on the kitchen table amid the smells of simmering noodle soup, thyme, bay leaves, and cilantro, steamed milk, garlic, and of course, onion. (Esquivel 5-6). This shows Titas connection to food which grows through out the book. Tita prepares certain dishes for special occasions and at different times of the year.

Not only does Tita prepare certain dishes for different occasions, but Mexicans also prepare different dishes for certain occasions. For example, a tradition for a wealthy Mexican family is what is called a country gathering. This is a gathering of family members. At this gathering, they began with a breakfast of fruit, eggs, beans, chilaquiles, coffee, milk, and pastries. They would then go out on horseback after their typical breakfast (Lomnitz and Perez-Lizaur 187). Some of the holidays that they make special dishes for include: Dia de la Candelaria, day of the dead, and Christmas.

Dia de la Candelaria is the day that marks the end of the Christmas season. On this day, it is a tradition to eat tamales and drink atole, a drink that goes with tamales and is made from cornstarch. This is not the only part of this tradition but it is what most Mexicans think of when they think of this day. The traditional Christmas Eve meal is usually turkey and other Mexican foods that go with it (Mexican Culture). Different dishes are also used for events such as pregnancy, sickness, marriage, and almost any event that could happen in a persons life.

In Esquivels novel, the recipe that is made in each chapter is selected based on what happened in the chapter. Tita prepares turkey mole for Robertos baptism (65). Then later on in the novel to help Titas sickness, Chencha prepares ox-tail soup to cure what no medicines had been able to cure (125). For marriage, Tita prepares a certain kind of wedding cake with icing and a certain filling. Tita takes her time in preparing each dish and makes sure to follow each recipe or formula carefully.

However, following the recipe may not ensure the dish turns out as it is intended to. Esquivel seems to believe that in the recipes, there are more than just tangible ingredients; there is something more to the recipes that is intangible. These intangible ingredients consist of love, patience, sorrow, and hate all of which are feelings that Tita has throughout the novel. These extra ingredients cannot be seen by just looking at the dish. They can only be seen when the meal or dish has been eaten. For example, the meal that Tita prepares with the rose petals. She prepares this meal with passion and love. However, this is not seen until Gertrudis gets in the shower and a soldier, Juan, smells the aroma that is coming from her.

The aroma from Gertrudis body guided him. He got there just in time to find her racing through the field. Then he knew why hes been drawn there. This woman desperately needed a man to quench the red-hot fire that was raging inside her. A man equal to loving someone who needed love as much as she did, a man like him. (55)

This is a direct effect from the extra ingredient, passion which she felt for Pedro, that was added by Tita unconsciously. This new element gives the food a whole new meaning, one that only Tita and Nacha, the family cook and nanny, understand. A prime example of a character that has no familiarity with food preparation is Rosaura, which is seen when she tries to cook for the family. She follows the recipe exactly (as Tita would), however it tastes bad:

There was one day when Rosuara did attempt to cook. When Tita tried nicely to give her some advice, Rosaura became irritated and asked Tita to leave her alone in the kitchen. The rice was obviously scorched, the meat dried out, the dessert burnt. But no one at the table dared display the tiniest hint of displeasure, not after Mama Elena had pointedly remarked: As the first meal that Rosaura has cooked it isnt bad. Dont you agree, Pedro?.Of course, that afternoon the entire family felt sick to their stomachs. (50-51)

The sickness that the family felt was that of the hate in she prepared the meal with. The hidden ingredients can also be seen in the meals that Tita prepares for Mama Elena. The ingredients that Tita subconsciously adds to her food are partial done through Nacha.

Nacha might only be a cook and nanny to the De la Garza family, but she plays a much larger role as mother to Tita. Nacha is much more of a mother than Mama Elena could ever be to Tita. Through all the years that they spent in the kitchen, Tita was building a strong relationship with the food she prepared. This was more of an experience than anything else was for Tita. Susan Lucas Dobrian goes on to further explain this idea in her article Romancing the Cook. She describes the meal preparation:

The kitchen becomes a veritable reservoir of creative and magical events, in which the cook who possesses this talent becomes artist, healer, and lover. Culinary activity involves not just the combination of prescribed ingredients, but something personal and creative emanating from the cook, a magical quality which transforms the food and grants its powerful properties that go beyond physical satisfaction to provide spiritual nourishment as well. (60)

The meal preparations that Dobrain describes are also linked to Nacha, Titas mother figure.

Tita gets her great cooking skills from Nacha, this is there way of passing down the recipes from generation to generation. The recipes in Like Water for Chocolate are kept in the family. Tita then passes the recipes to Esperanza. Esperanza then passes them to her daughter who puts them in the book. The recipes that are passes down from generation to generation are also what tell us the story of Tita.

The recipes are taught to the next generation. However, they are taught not only to be followed, but also how to know the different qualities of the ingredients that go into each dish. This is only something that can be passed down from generation to generation. In the book, The Mexican Elite Family, Larissa Addler Lomnitz and Marisol Perez-Lizaur state, Her cooking is famous for the old-style Mexican recipes she uses, inherited from her mother and grandmother. She will share these recipes with no one but her own daughters. (97). This is a prime example of how Mexicans value food and the traditions they have within their blood family.

Throughout the book, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, food plays a main role, but not only does it play a main role in the novel, it also plays a large role in Mexican culture. The novel carries many of the culinary traditions that Mexicans find very important in their culture. Mexican women play a big role in domestic life and must know how to prepare food. The ability of Mexican women to create dishes (for every occasion) is one that has become a great tradition in Mexico. A tradition that I wish would be a part of the culture of America, because it seems to be something that makes Mexican families closer (something Americans need to learn).

Works Cited

Dobrain, Susan Lucas. Romancing the Cook: Parodic Consumption of Popular Romance Myths in Como Agua Para Chocolate. Latin American Literary Review. July-Dec. 96: 55-66.

Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate. Trans. Carol and Thomas Christensen. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

Lomnitz, Larissa Adler and Marison Perez-Lixaur. A Mexican Elite Family, 1820-1980: Kinship, Class, and Culture. Princton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1987.

Mexican Cuisine and Cooking. Inside Puerto Vallarta Travel Magazine: Puerto Vallarta, Mexica.

Mexican Culture. <http://mexicanculture.about.com/culture/mexicanculture>.

Mexico. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. 2000 ed. Microsoft Corp, 1999.