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Like Water for Chocolate

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Introduction

RECIPE OF LIFE It is said that 'Life is a combination of magic and food' and there is nothing better than Laura Esquivel's novel, 'Like of Water for Chocolate', that uses this combination to unravel the mysteries of life, its recipe and the ingredients that make it so special. As it is subtitled, this one is 'A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances and Home Remedies'. This incorporation and interweaving of traditional food recipes make for a very and charming interpretation of life indeed, in the turn of century Mexico. Laura Esquivel has also employed techniques of Magic Realism very appropriately to link these recipes and the art of cooking with the main protagonist, Tita's hopes, dreams and eventually her life. Thus, these food recipes seem to hold the secrets of love and life in this journey through Tita's life and dreams. Food and emotions have an inseparable relationship in this spicy tale of love and family bonds. Set in Mexico, this novel chronicles the life of Tita, the youngest daughter of Mama Elena through her teenage years till she grows up to be a woman. ...read more.

Middle

Thus, Tita cannot marry her beloved, Pedro Musquiz, who instead marries Tita's sister, Rosaura. Tita is deeply hurt by this, but she accepts the harsh reality and continues to hide all her sorrow and unhappiness. Yet, her mother forces her to prepare the feast for Rosaura and Pedro's wedding. Laura Esquivel combines food and magic realism for the first time here. As Tita prepares the wedding cake, her tears fall into the batter and icing, which in turn has a deep effect on all the wedding guests who consume it and have an intense feeling of longing. Thereby, Tita unconsciously adds these emotions to the ingredients for every dish that she prepares and the effect of these emotions show that food is literally a part of her own being. She constantly uses food as a tool to express her passions as well. Tita is also able to communicate her feelings to her lover Pedro secretively, which further helps in their bonding. Ironically, through her cooking, she is able to strengthen her relationship with everyone, including Pedro's two children, as also rebel against her rigid mother. ...read more.

Conclusion

Yet, this novel celebrates the spirit of life, because ultimately, Tita emerges triumphant, as she bravely cruises through all the problems that life has to offer and finally unites with her lover, Pedro. She is shown to grow in strength and character, as she is able to assert herself and stand up for her rights. The domestic sphere is portrayed as a site of repression, which may confine women, but on the other hand even as a site for rebellion against traditional boundaries. Thus, we as readers learn that one should always live life on one's own terms. Every individual needs to somehow get his/her feelings and emotions across to the rest of the world and do whatever it takes to attain self-assertion and freedom. At the same time this novel has been described to accurately "map the trajectory of feminist history in Mexican society." [2] It truly is a celebration of feminism and womanhood. In the end, it can be viewed as a delicious feast that combines love, hatred, relationships, traditions and fantasies; a novel that contains all the ingredients that make up life. ...read more.

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