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Like Water For Chocolate

Laura Esquivel's novel, LIke Water for Chocolate was the novel I read as an individual assignment for Brit & World Lit. COvering: Summary, Character list & description, themes, literary analysis, text to text & world connections, & plot summary.
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Sophia Smith

on 24 January 2013

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Transcript of Like Water For Chocolate

Like Water For Chocolate Laura Esquivel Like Water For Chocolate is told by a modern day woman recounting the story of her aunt Tita's life during the turn of the 20th century. The story coincides with the Mexican Revolution which was 1910-1920. Setting Characters Josefita, (Tita,) is the story's protagonist. Daughter of Mama Elena, sister to Rosaura and Gertrudis, she is bound by family tradition as the youngest daughter to take care of her mother until her death. She meets Pedro, and the two fall in love. Because of the tradition, her mother refuses to let the two marry and so he marries her sister, Rosaura. Tita finds solace in the one thing she loves most: cooking. Pedro Pedro fell in love with Tita and when he asked for her mother's permission to marry her, he was denied. When offered her sister, Rosaura he accepts so he can always be around Tita. Mama Elena Dr. John Brown Dr. John Brown is an American doctor who nurses Tita back to health when she becomes ill. Brown is a widower with a young son, Alex. A very honest, caring, good man. Tita's eventual fiance. Gertrudis Gertrudis, the middles sister is the closest to Tita, she is who Tita confides in when she thinks she may be pregnant. She runs away with an officer in the army, fed up with her mother's tyrannical ways. She eventually becomes a general with the revolutionaries. Mama Elena is
mother to Rosaura, Tita, and Getrudis. A vindictive woman with a dislike of her youngest daughter. Rosaura The oldest sister, Rosaura is the mother's favorite. She's very bitter towards her youngest sister Tita. Her and Pedro have two children: Roberto and Esperanza. Tita Plot Themes The Theme of Like Water For Chocolate is personal freedom. The idea that we all hold the keys to our own destiny and to try and controls the lives of others is futile and just a waste of one's time. This is shown though Tita's lack of standing up to her mother and following her every word by holding to family tradition.

Another theme is Carpe Diem, life is too short to not go after you want, this is shown by Tita and Pedro waiting so long to get married (after Rosaura dies,)that he dies before they do.

Perhaps the oddest theme in the book is transference. Tita can only express her emotion through her cooking. Whatever she is feeling while cooking, everyone else experinces while eating. "She, (Tita,) was so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she didn't notice all around her something strange was taking place... the guests and scattered them across the patio and the grounds... all of them wailing over lost loves."

A final theme is redemption, Mama Elena must be cared for by Tita after her stroke and her cold treatment of Tita. Rosaura, after stealing her sister's lover, dies fat with embarrassing digestive issues. And Tita, is happy. She and Pedro are together if only for a brief time, and her niece, whom she loves like her own, is happy and healthy. Literary Elements Symbolism is used throughout the story, the best example is rose petals. Pedro bring Tita roses, which send Rosaura into a rage. Mama Elena orders her to get rid of them, so Tita makes them into a rose petal sauce. This is symbolic of the feelings they have for each other despite the improprietous nature of the situation.

"It wasn't enough he'd made his wife jealous earlier, for when Pedro tasted his first mouthful he couldn't help but close his eyes in voluptous delight and excalming, 'Its a dish for the gods!"

Foreshadowing is used in the novel through Gertrudis' realtionship with Juan and an officer under her command. The officer backs off his pursuit of Gertrudis seeing the passion between Gertrudis and Juan. This foreshadows Tita's relationships with John Brown and Pedro. "Unquestionably, when it came to dividing, dismantling, desolating, detaching, dispossesing, detaching, or dominating, Mama Elena was a pro." "I'm a man of few, but firm words." "Tita loved the ranch, it was secluded but not isolated. It was near enough to the river to be cool under the hot sun." Text Connection Text To World:
The feuding between Rosaura and Tita reminded me of the fighting between me and my own sister. Though we've never sank as low as Rosaura did, we have gotten very petty.

Text To Text:
Mama Elena's "imprisonment" of Tita because of a familial tradition and personal animosity toward her daughter reminded me of Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, who literally locks up his wife because of her mental illness. Because of society's view of mental illness during that time, his wife's illness in my opinion embarrassed him. Critique I felt that the book, because of the Spanish- English translation, lost some of the writer's eloquence. Spanish is very expressive in a way that English is not, there's more than one way to interpret any given statement. Its evident from the writing she is a very gifted author but i felt as if I were reading a condensed version of her writing.

The book was extremely well written, the author has a way with words. The story I liked, but as a bit too dramatic for me.I felt like a lot happened in a very short amount of time. It wasn't really my taste, the main character's infidelity and treatment of Dr. John Brown I felt was cruel, but it did make her human.

I would recommend the book to people who like romance novels with a lot of symbolism and deep themes. Its a book with much more than just what's on the surface. Title Meaning Cultural Note: In Mexico, chocolate is not made with hot milk, but rather near boiling water.

"Como Agua Para Chocolate" refers to the traditional method of making chocolate. Tita (and Pedro) feels so filled with emotion she cannot express she feels as if she's about to boil over.

"She felt her head about to burst, like a kernel of popcorn." Exposition- Tita grows up in the kitchen, raised by the family cook. Her mother's intense dislike of her evident form the beginning.

Rising Action- Pedro asks for permission to marry Tita, when denied because of a family tradition. Mama Elena convinces him to marry Rosaura & Pedro accepts. A few weeks later, the two get married to Tita's despair. Pedro tells Tita the only reason he married Rosaura was so he could always be near her. Time goes by, Tita endures more and more cruelty from her mother. Tita and Pedro dance around their mutual attraction for each other. Mama Elena dies, and Tita finally sees what made her mother so bitter. Tita, in an attempt to move on, accepts when John Brown, a widower proposes. Tita and Pedro give in to their feelings for each other.

Climax- Tita's pregnancy with Pedro's baby. Despite her efforts to keep it from him, he finds out. In a drunken accident he gets badly burned. TIta realizes she is not really pregnant, but her fiance is coming soon and she feels obligated to tell him she has been sleeping with Pedro.

Falling Action- John, while upset about Tita's affair, wants go ahead with the wedding but only if that's what Tita wants too.

Resolution- Years go by, Tita is baking a wedding cake for her niece, Esperanza's wedding to Alex Brown, John Brown's son. He, after Tita broke the engagement never married. Rosaura has died, but Pedro and Tita still have yet to get married, both in their early 50's. The night Pedro finally asks Tita to marry him, he dies.
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