World Lit 1
Comparing the ending of Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate to Camus’ The Outsider
In both Like Water for Chocolate and The Outsider, the main characters experience a blissful realization at the end of the book while facing imminent death. With the exception of the last few pages of each book, the two main characters, Tita and Meursault are largely static in their development; their interactions with people do not change, nor do their attitudes throughout the novel. In Tita’s case, the years of abuse from her family (mostly mother,) physical and mental, coupled with the constant sense of oppression she felt, lead her to become so emotional that she had an often-destructive impact on the world around her. However in Meursault’s case, he is passive his entire life to the point of absurdity. The final pages of Like Water for Chocolate and The Outsider provide both main characters with similar realizations, although through very different life circumstances, while facing death.
Although the deaths of Tita and Meursault are very different in context, their revelations share the common theme of rebirth. Both characters experience what they had been pursuing throughout the course of the novel only at the end while accepting imminent death. When Tita dies, she finds a “figure of Pedro waiting for her” as she had been searching for love her entire life. And upon Meursault’s imminent death, he discovers that death “made me realize that I’d been happy, and that I was happy still” after spending his life in painful apathy. It may seem unfair to the reader that these two characters have found what they have been searching for only because of death; however both characters experience a sort of life after death. Even though Meursault’s newfound happiness is so close to his death he says, “I, too, felt ready to start life all over again.” This idea in Meursault’s mind that he will experience a rebirth is put here by Camus show Meursault’s hope, something he has not experienced throughout the entire novel. This idea of rebirth is very similar to Tita’s scenario in Like Water for Chocolate. After Tita’s death she sees Pedro again and the author writes “Never again would they be apart.” This tells the reader that Tita continues to be ‘alive’ even after death. Very similar to Meursault’s insinuated rebirth except for one large difference: that Tita actually dies. Meursault’s revelation is before his death, after saying his anger has “emptied me of hope.” Meursault’s anticipation of rebirth comes after he has accepted death as a certainty, whereas Tita’s rebirth comes more literally after she has died.