The character relationship and how it emphasises the impact the mothers have on the characters of Tita and Tereza within the two books The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and Laura Esquivels Like Water For Chocolate

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Laura Esquivel’s Like Water For Chocolate and Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being are both very different novels, but within both written pieces there are similar concepts where motifs and spiritual realism are used to emphasize how character relationships influence rebelliousness. Focusing on the two protagonists and their mothers, the will of rebellion against family and family tradition is shown in both Tita and Tereza. By the authors’ use of restriction and constant surveillance within the mothers of the two girls, and emphasis on constriction both have towards their children, explains the daughter’s will of wanting to escape. To go in further detail, the authors’ use of character impact is shown in the form of spiritual realism, in which Tita’s mother reappears as an apparition, and motifs, where Tereza mother constantly appears in her dreams, again emphasizing the heaviness the two mothers impose on the two protagonists.  

        In both novels the characters Tita and Tereza are clearly influenced by their mothers. Whilst the restriction Tita receives comes with family tradition, Tereza is forced to be equal to everyone else. Both characters disagree with the ideas thus indicating the start of a rebellious attitude. The mothers of both girls use them to vent their anger; though Tita’s mother completely disowns her, both mothers do rely on their daughters to stay with them whilst living at home. As seen when “one day [when Tereza’s] mother phoned to say she had cancer and only a few months to live”(p.57). Tereza has already left her mother for Prague and it is seen that it was a lie and that “ Tereza’s mother had never been suspected of having the disease” (p.58) This shows that though Tereza’s mother who was cruel and harsh constantly needed Tereza near her, and that she would lie to get the thing which was her outlet for her anger back. But with Tereza gone the possibility of looking in one’s reflection and not only seeing her old self but the woman who ruined her whole life had caused her to want Tereza back and so she can continue with the loathsome attitude and once again vent her anger and disappointment on Tereza. Same with Tita, whilst she still lived with her mother, there was always the need for her to be where Mama Elena was. As equal in harsh attitudes with Tereza’s mother, Mama Elena was cruel to her daughter but still expected Tita “to take care of [her, Mama Elena] until the day [she, Mama Elena] die[d].”(p.14) Certain places it is obvious that for Mama Elena Tita had become a tool in which she used to reenact what had happened to her on others as “she wasn’t allowed to marry”(p.125) the man she loved and that she would do the same to torture Tita though the reason was she wasn’t allowed to marry was due to Juan, her lover, having “Negro blood in his veins”(p.125) but similarly related to family tradition. This shows the reader that throughout Tita’s life she was told the fact that she “couldn’t marry and have children”(p.14) and that she couldn’t leave her mother’s side until the day she died.

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Tita and Tereza both are classified as rebellious characters differently, but what they share is the will to break free from their families told not being rebellious directly. Tereza’s rebelliousness is subtle until she leaves, but whilst she is in her mother’s care, her form of rebellion was when she looked at her reflection in the mirror and trying to look past her physical appearance and look deeper at her soul. Kundera lets the reader understand that by looking into the mirror, Tereza could sense herself as freedom away from the constrictions of the human body in which her mother ...

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