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like water for chocolate

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Introduction

Like Water For Chocolate: A novel in monthly installments with recipes, romances and home remedies, is a novel by Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel. It was published, originally in Spanish as Como agua para chocolate, in 1989. The novel has been translated into thirty languages since then. It is a story about a young girl, Tita who struggles for her entire life to be with her true love. Protagonist of the novel and also the youngest daughter of a family lives on a Mexican ranch at the time of the Revolution. Emotional Oppression It is evident, especially in the first few chapters, that Tita has been emotionally oppressed by her dictator-like mother. Her mother, enforcing a family tradition, decrees that Tita is not allowed to marry because she is obligated to care for her mother until she dies. Deprived of the love of her life, Tita is forced to repress her feelings and transmute them into her cooking. The feeling she pours into her cooking then affects the people who eat it, contributing to the magical realism evident throughout the novel, as her repressed emotions have tangible, magical consequences. Self Growth At the beginning of the novel, Tita was a generally submissive young lady. As the novel progresses, Tita learns to disobey the injustice of her mother, and gradually becomes more and more adept at expressing her inner fire through various means. At first, cooking was her only outlet, but through self-discovery she learned to verbalize and actualize her feelings, and stand up to her despotic mother. ...read more.

Middle

After that night, Tita feels with certainty that she is pregnant. She thinks that she has to tell John of her affair with Pedro and end the engagement. Mama Elena returns to the ranch as a spirit and curses Tita and her unborn child. Titas sister Gertrudis returns to the ranch. She is now a general in the revolutionary army. Tita is very happy to see her sister back at the ranch. Mama Elenas spirit returns violently and asks Tita to leave the ranch. Instead of leaving the ranch, Tita finally decides to stand up to her mother and declares her autonomy. After such a forceful declaration, the ghost shrinks into a tiny light. As soon as the ghost is expelled, Tita feels relieved of the pregnancy symptoms. The fiery light of Mama Elena ghost falls on Pedro, setting him on fire instantly. Tita rescues him, cares for him and helps him in recovering. Even after Tita confesses of her relationship with Pedro, he still wants to marry her but leaves the final decision to her. Many years pass. Rosaura dies and frees her daughter Esperanza from the same tradition as Tita which is forbidding them to marry. After Rosauras death Esperanza and Alex, Johns son, get married. With everything taken care of, Tita and Pedro are finally free to be with each other. On their first night, both of them make intense love and are carried into a tunnel to take them to the afterlife. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the case of Mexico, Esquivel's homeland, one need only look as far as two of the country's dearest cultural narratives for an example of this balance. The first is the Aztec myth describing the founding of Tenochitlan, which later became Mexico City. The myth tells the story of the Mexica, wandering hunters who received the vision that their empire would be built upon an island where an eagle sat on a cactus devouring a serpent. The fulfillment of this apparition is still held today as the historical beginning of the Aztec empire and modern-day Mexico. The second cultural narrative involves the Virgen de Guadalupe, who, according to legend, appeared to the indigenous man Juan Diego as a brown-skinned Madonna amidst a flurry of rose petals. Catholicism came to the conquered natives thus embodied, and the Virgen eventually became the patron saint of the country. Both stories rely on potent visual imagery that heightened natural elements and events by adding an element of the fantastic. The characters in Like Water for Chocolate are set against the backdrop of the most important modernizing force in Mexican history, the Mexican Revolution of 1910-17. During this time, peasants and natives banded together under the leadership of figures such as Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata to reject the old order's dictatorship, revive democracy, and claim Mexico for the everyday man and woman. Esquivel uses the revolution to explore themes of masculinity and gender identity, and examine how individuals appropriate for themselves the revolution's goal of liberty. ...read more.

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