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The Significance of Heritage and Tradition in Latin American Society

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Abhimanyu Lokesh Language A1 World Literature Paper 1, HL 8 April 2004 The Significance of Heritage and Tradition in Latin American Society The Latin American household is one based on traditional values and reverence for ancestral customs. Their heritage is founded upon the beliefs of pride, legacy, and respect for the elders and the wisdom that they imparted. However, as families become engulfed in political and social revolutions, tradition gives way to new and contemporaneous thought. Time-honored Latin American traditions such as recipes, remedies, and customs prove invaluable to the families of The House of the Spirits and Like Water for Chocolate during times of conflict and hardship, providing emotional and physical support while allowing the characters to preserve their spirit and essence for future generations to draw upon. The simplicity and efficiency of the remedies and treatments offers a level of support and peace scarcely found within the tumultuous society and internal family turmoil of either novel. As the ants threatened to ruin all of Tres Marias, and modern science failed to stop the plague, a desperate Pedro Segundo Garcia referred to his ancient father, Pedro Garcia, and his "old people's tale's"(Allende 111). ...read more.


The dedication and passion that is demonstrated by Esteban serves as an example of the importance of lineage in Latin American society. In Like Water for Chocolate, as Tita's relationship continued to deteriorate with Mama Elena due to Tita's conflict against family tradition, Tita remembers the instance where she found the box containing Mama Elena's letters. Through those letters, Tita learns of the forbidden passion that Mama Elena kept concealed in her heart, simply because a similar emotional tragedy. The newly discovered emotional connection between mother and daughter was stimulated by an object as unadorned as a letter. Consequently, she goes on to vow "that come what may, she would never renounce love" (Esquivel 138). Ironically, the tragedy that Mama Elena swore would never fall upon her children was driven by her own clandestine actions, further provoked by her chastisement and strict discipline. Such an event demonstrates the genuine significance of what seem to be inconsequential heirlooms or possessions in the lives of future generations. The nurturing and affectionate atmosphere provided by the families of both novels promotes the character's desire to fall back on traditional practices of consolation and solace in the time of need. ...read more.


Her independence and admirable stature as matriarch of the Trueba family left a lasting impression on future generations, such as Blanca and Alba. The role of a housemaid, for centuries considered a lowly position in Latin American culture, ironically played an extremely essential role in the permanence of the De Valle and De la Garza families. The Characters of Nancha and Nana symbolize a recurring theme of stability and steadiness that held the families of Like Water for Chocolate and The House of the Spirits together. Nana, originally part of the De Valle family, could not bear the loneliness and sudden independence that resulted from being freed from the chains of servitude. "She had been born to cradle other people's children, wear their hand me down clothing, eat their leftovers, live on borrowed happiness...and be buried in a common grave in the public cemetery" ( Allende 124). By being entrusted with the care of the children, she came to notice each of their unique personalities and understand their mannerisms, more so that their actual mothers. Through traditional child rearing practices along with a maternal passion and tenderness for each child, Nana provided a foundation of tranquility and harmony that remained with each generation throughout their lives. ...read more.

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