Control is a central concern in the novel Like Water for Chocolate

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Control is a central concern in the novel “Like Water for Chocolate”, consider its impact

In Esquivel’s novel “Like Water for Chocolate”, Tita, the protagonist is forced to conform to her unconscionable De La Garza family tradition in which she has to stay unmarried and care for her flagitious mother until she dies. Subsequently her lover, Pedro Muzquiz agrees to marry Tita’s sister Rosaura as an attempt to stay close to her. In the novel, control is viewed as a central concern. The author generates this concern through Mama Elena’s control over her daughters, temperature, food, Tita’s rebellion and imagery. These ultimately impact the characters and the readers of the novel in both positive and negative ways.

Mama Elena has the most control over Tita because since she is the “youngest daughter”, (Esquivel, 14) she is forbidden to marry until her mother is dead. Thus, this devastates Tita throughout the novel because her fate as it were, is to be alone instead of being with her lover, Pedro. Mama Elena’s control over Tita affects her so much that even after she is dead, she still is controlling her. Though “Tita no longer had a mother... she couldn’t get ride of the feeling that any minute some awful punishment was going to descent on her from the great beyond” (178).  This emphasises how great the control Mama Elena had over Tita and how it impacted her making her paranoid. Mama Elena also reappears in the novel after her death as a ghost. Tita turned around and found “herself face to face with Mama Elena” (157). The reappearance of Mama Elena is important since it is an attempt to reassert the control she had over Tita throughout her life. This control over Tita is significant as it creates a sympathy for her from the reader and also impacts Tita emotionally which consequently causes Tita’s rebellion in the novel.

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Tita’s rebellion is a critical moment in the Esquivel’s novel as it is the first time that she has done this directly to her mother. When Chencha informs Tita and Mama Elena about the death of Roberto, it provokes Tita to tell her that she is “sick of obeying” (89) her orders. Mama Elena responds by smashing her across the face with a wooden spoon and Tita accuses her, saying she “killed Roberto” (89). Through these quotes, Esquivel exposes the strength of Tita as she has refused to conform to her mother’s rules, and has broken the control that Mama ...

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