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To what extent is marriage a symbol for the socio-economical context of Like Water for Chocolate and The sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea?

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Introduction

To what extent is marriage a symbol for the socio-economical context of Like Water for Chocolate and The sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea The purport of marriage varies amongst cultures, yet, it is similarly aspired to by many a generation of romantic young girls. In Like Water for Chocolate and the Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea (here after referred to as Sailor ), marriage is the key motif that not only connects the two novels, but also adheres the fragments of the novels to form a complete whole. Both authors created this symbol to serve a crucial purpose in exquisitely unveiling the socio-economical context of the respective settings of the two novels; Japan and Mexico. 'When you're told there's no way you can marry the woman you love and your only hope of being near her is to marry her sister, wouldn't you do the same?'(15)This very quote from Like Water for Chocolate, depicts love as entirely excluded from marriage. According to Mexican tradition, marriage is merely a duty which symbolises the Mexican traditional and cultural bindings that neither man nor woman could elude. ...read more.

Middle

'Jose was the love of her life', yet Mama Elena was restricted from marrying him because 'he had Negro blood in his veins.'(137). Mama Elena had an affair with a black man, yet was forcibly disconnected because of the difference in race and culture, underlining another feature in the Mexican culture, that shows it to be extremely exclusive. ' No woman had attracted him since the death of his wife five years before.' (74) In direct reference to John Brown, a foreigner, this depicts a contradicting belief from mexican tradition, that marriage (as John ultimately proposed to Tita) is is a product of love and passion. In Sailor, Fusako appears to be a greatly westernised woman who leads a fashionable life in her prestigious store, yet she falls in love with a Japanese Sailor who complies with the traditional principles of glory and honour. This clash of tradition as expressed through the image of marriage, expands the diversity and versatility of marriage as a symbol. 'She would have to find some way, even if it was an artificial one, of striking a fire that would light the way back to her origin and to Pedro.'(245) ...read more.

Conclusion

perfectly embodies the struggle Ryuji faced; the conflict between the 'offing' of Japanese pride and "the woman", metonymy for marriage to a woman. To conclude, both writers adopted marriage to a great extent as a major motif to symbolise each novel's socio-economic context impeccably. In Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel depicts the journey of exploration of the mexican identity, which ultimately reveals the puissance of social expectations and hierarchy in the mexican culture, flawlessly embodied by the notion of marriage. Furthermore, the novel is set during the Mexican revolution, paralleled to the struggle undertaken by Tita. Tita epitomizes the insurgents who falls victim to the age-old traditions, resulting in a tragic death, which was not uncommon during times of the revolution. While the novel revolves around "revolution" as a concept, the representation of themes are ultimately spearheaded by the motif of marriage. Adopting juxtaposing ideas to enhance the clash of cultures, Mishima successfully accentuates the cultural and social dimensions of the Japanese context. Together with the motif of marriage and Ryuji's death from his 'loss of masculinity and honour', Mishima advocates the nihilistic viewpoints harboured by the gang. While marriage carries rather disparate connotations in the Japanese and Mexican culture, Esquivel and Mishima, both triumphed in conveying the contextual theme through meticulous manipulation of the symbol; "marriage". ...read more.

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