• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The conception of conformity and confinement in 'The sailor who fell from grace with the sea' and 'Like water for chocolate'

Extracts from this document...


The conception of conformity and confinement are salient in both Yukio Mishima?s ?The sailor who fell from grace with the sea? and Laura Esquivel?s ?Like water for chocolate?. Through these novels, we are testament to the passive and active powers of Ryuji and Tita alike. Ryuji on the one hand succumbs to conformity whilst Tita on the other hand experiences a gradual change from compliance to renouncing conformity all together. This essay serves to elucidate the diametrically opposite approaches taken by the two authors in portraying the way in which the two characters address conformity. It also accentuates the consequences and benefits of the course of action taken by the two characters. Initially, Ryuji is tethered by stoic traditional values that convinces him to stand firm at sea. He believes that the sea shall bequeath him with the sumptuous glory that he seeks. This is exemplified through ?Standing in the white pilothouse...Ryuji was more convinced than ever: There must be a special destiny in store for me? (Mishima 1999, p17). Here the lexical set ?white..special? communicate how this glory is transcendent as ?white? can be adjudged as an index of purity whilst ?special? hints at something unique. ...read more.


The sheer fact that it?s above the ?emergency exit? suggests how Ryuji can make an imminent gateway and break the shackles of conformity. Yet Ryuji?s obsession over Fusako ensures that he embraces her western ways. This decision to conform is rife with consequences and is succinctly depicted through ?The vermilion plum-branch cup...seemed to wither in the grasp of the huge, calloused hand? (p114). Here,?vermillion...writhing? subtly illustrates the death of Japanese tradition under the metaphorical ?hand? of western imperialism (Ryuji). The magnitude of western influence is made clear through ?huge? and the death of the Japanese tradition is exemplified through the ?vermilion...wither[ing]? In ?Like Water for Chocolate?, propriety is prevalent from the very beginning of the novel. Tita the protagonist is subservient to Mama Elena?s tyrannical commands. She is relegated to the domestic sphere of the kitchen and must engage in the tedious humdrum of female tradition. This tradition suppresses her sense of identity and confines her. The extent of propriety that permeates Tita is made clear through the accretion of negative adjectives and harsh lexical set ?rip it out...ordered...tremendous slap?. (Esquivel 1995, p12 & 27) These actions are all appropriated by Mama Elena and demonstrates her tyrannical dominance over Tita. ...read more.


. . all of them wailing over lost love." (p39) where her tear drop infused cake is able to stir up despair amongst a myriad of guests. Cooking also becomes an extension of herself and provides her with the impetus for freedom and self-expression. This is clarified through "for Tita, the joy of living was wrapped up in the delights of food". The semantic field ?joy...delights? entail positive connotations which suggest that food provides her with a means of escapism from the monotony of her daily existence. Thus gastronomic interior spaces enable her voice to be heard. It revitalizes her identity and enables her to break the shackles of confinement and conformity. In conclusion, both texts articulate the changing identity of the protagonists. Tita transforms from a submissive daughter to a defiant one whilst Ryuji transitions towards conformity and remains in this passive state until his death. In the end Tita is faced with positive results as she gradually gains her self-confidence and ultimately reunites with Pedro as opposed to Ryuji who is emasculated by the revelation that glory ceases to exist for him. In escaping the constraints of external anticipation and in pooling their strengths from their internal expectations, both protagonists achieve self-actualization and are able to concoct a new identity. Unfortunately their journey entails ambiguity and demise is the end result. Akhil Venkataraghavan ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Free essay

    The use of symbolism to convey protagonists confinement in a Doll's House and Death ...

    On the other hand, Ariel Dorfman present to us a different situation in which it is the woman who takes over the male characteristics presented in Death and the Maiden. One very important symbol is the famous quartet by Schubert from which the novel is named after.

  2. The Sailor who fell from grace with the sea. What does the novel teach ...

    He longs to go to his mothers room despite his mother warning him not to: "It's time you stop coming into mother's room so often with that excuse about wanting to watch the ships; you're not a child anymore". He peeks at his mother at night when she has scolded

  1. Theme of Food and Magical Realism in Like Water for Chocolate

    There is no limit to how intense or of what magnitude of feeling her food manages to inculcate in an individual but the impact of her mindset when preparing the food can be seen by the toll it takes on all who consume it managing to induce the strongest emotions that in the end reflect Tita's disposition.

  2. Comparative Analysis, Haroun and the sea of stories and Inanna

    "The waters of the ocean were growing thicker by the mile, thicker and colder; many of the streams of story were full of a dark slow moving substance that looked like molasses". In both stories there is a motif of light and dark which are always being brought into perspective, usually through the characters or places.

  1. Treatment of escapism in A Street car named desire by Tennessee Williams ...

    A Streetcar Named desire ends with Blanche?s insanity but the audience feels that this insanity is what can make Blanches sane. She is not a product of reality; she is a part and parcel of her illusions, and may be she will live happily in her madness.

  2. Moods, colors and people of the deep blue sea are portrayed in The Sound ...

    ?He took his fast ship down the gulf that time?(l.309, bk.I) 13. ?Do not delay me, for I love the sea ways?(l.263, bk.I) 14. ?Who will be king in sea-girt Ithaca??(l.453, bk.I) 15. ?He rules the aphian people of the sea?(l.471, b.1)

  1. Analysis of "Hurricane hits England" by Grace Nichols

    blow which can again be related to the ?blinding illumination? that is discussed before. Moreover verse 23 and 24, ?what is the meaning of trees falling heavy as whales?, could represent the oaks that in the city of 7 oaks fall down during the storm in 1987, remaining just one oak standing.

  2. Annotations for Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

    Vernacular- adjective; Native or indigenous (pg. 25) Sojourns- noun; A temporary stay (pg. 26) Raucous- adjective; Rough or hoarse (pg. 26) Dubious- adjective; Doubtful (pg. 34) Chapter 3; Mean, Restive, and Ragged; (pg.37-56) Summary- Tom Smith finally got a large salary, which came from Charles Howard.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work