Xaier Universtiy Ateneo de Cagayan

English 66 – EDA Mr. Hobart Savior

‚Like water for chocolate‛ Critical analysis

Maurice Helen C. Saavedra BSE 3

September 2, 2011

Like water for chocolate is a Mexican novel which tells us of a forbidden love story that is influenced by a family tradition in their ranch. The story employs magical realism which was seen when Tita was being haunted by her mother’s spirit because of her continuous affair with Pedro. Another scene which employs magical realism occurs when Tita cooks a meal for everybody. Whatever emotions she has while she cooks, her emotions are poured out on the meal and the people who eat the food are also affected with the emotions that Tita has with her food. These scenes were shown when Pedro gave Tita some roses. The affection Tita has for Pedro was poured on with the food she cooked. The people who ate the food felt the same with what Tita felt. Examples of which are the time when Pedro got married, Tita prepared for the celebration. Tita was hurt seeing Pedro getting married to her sister, Rosaura. The tears Tita shed dropped in to the food she prepared. During the festivity, the guests who ate the food she prepared ended up crying instead of merry-making. Magical realism in the concept of ‚Like water for chocolate‛ was revealed through the magical feeling that the Tita gives out with the food and the showing up of the spirits of Mama Elena (Tita’s cruel mother) and Nancha (the cook that treated Tita as a daughter and raised her).

The family tradition in the novel influenced the plot of the story. Mama Elena, a widow and Tita’s mother controlled the life of Tita. Since Tita is the youngest daughter,

she had to follow the tradition of not getting married and has to look over her mother ‘till her death. She was a submissive young lady who always followed what her mother ordered her to do. This tradition ruined Tita’s love affair with Pedro. As Tita grew up her beliefs and decisions have changed. Her views have changed, and she started to search for her freedom. This is also the reason why even after the death of Mama Elena, Tita is still haunted by her spirit. Mama Elena always says that Tita brought bad luck to the family. This thought made Tita feel imprisoned under her mother’s control. Tita on the other thought only wanted to claim her right to love and independence from her mother. She was very unfortunate. Whenever she fails to meet her mother’s standards especially with the food that she prepares, her mother would tend to beat her up. She was expected to grow as a good cook for she has spent all her life inside the kitchen. The kitchen tools are her toys. The kitchen is her playground and their chef, Chancha was like her mother.

From a flashback on the film of Like water for chocolate, when Tita was still a child, she kept on going through her mother’s things and saw a jewelry box which she was very curious of. After her mother’s burial, Tita found a reason to go over her mother’s things and found the opportunity to open the jewelry box. There she found a letter of her mother which narrates her love affair with somebody else and stating that

her sister her eldest sister, Gertrudis was an illegitimate child. There Tita was shocked of that revelation and that also made her to loosen up and feel free from her mother’s care. It also made her decide to rebel against her mother. This gave Tita the idea of liberating herself and sees as an opportunity for her love to Pedro. Eventually, as Tita was doing what she wanted to do, Mama Elena kept on haunting her and reminding her of a curse that she gave to Tita. The curse made Tita felt paranoid as well as putting Pedro’s life in danger.

On the other hand, Gertrudis, Tita’s eldest sister and the illegititmate daughter of Mama Elena ran away when one time, Tita cooked a very delicious meal where she poured out her emotion of lust and desire. Gertrudis who had too much of the food uncontrollably ran to the bathroom of the ranch and took a bath. She had herself take a bath due to the heat that she felt as she ate the food. The heat of Gertrudis’ body was too high that her body began release smoke due to intensity. She was too hot that made the bathroom light up. As the bathroom was burning, Gertrudis ran out naked and found herself in the arms of the captain. Then on, Gertrudis ran away with the captain and became the head soldier of their revolution.

Mama Elena had an untimely death. It was time of the revolution that the rebels went to their ranch and stole everything they’ve got and also raped Chancha and Mama Elena. That was the time when Tita was still under the care of Dr. Brown for she was brought to the asylum due to her insanity. When Tita found out that her nephew, the son of Pedro and her sister, Rosaura died, Tita lost her grip and had gone mad. During her stay with Dr. Brown, the doctor had constantly fallen in love with Tita. He had cured her and had brought her back to her senses. When Dr. Brown asked Tita to be her fiancé, Tita accepted it for she saw Dr. Brown’s goodness and how he helped her without any hesitation. But Tita’s feelings for Pedro remained the same despite accepting Dr. Brown’s courtship. For some time, Tita moved back to the ranch and stayed away from Dr. Brown. As Tita moved back to the ranch, she lived there with Rosaura, Pedro, Chancha and their child. The affair between Pedro and Tita then on continued to nourish. Since Tita was the one who watches over Rosaura and Pedro’s daughter, Tita and Pedro had all the chance to fall for each other deeply. Tita came up with a decision to break up with Dr. Brown and go with Pedro instead.

After Mama Elena’s death, Gertrudis had the chance to come back to the ranch and visited Rosaura and Tita. She also encouraged Tita that she should fight for her love to Pedro and would not mind about Rosaura for Tita should be the one who is in

Rosaura’s place. Tita saw Gertrudis’ point and pursued her love for Pedro. Meanwhile, Rosaura on the other hand noticed that Tita had gone close to Pedro and their daughter, Esperanza. Rosaura took Tita’s right to handle Esperanza in order for Tita to stay away from them because she had seen how her family’s been taken away from her. Since Gertrudis doesn’t like Rosaura and Pedro’s relationship, she gave Tita the chance to sneak out with Pedro. That incident drew Tita and Pedro much more closely to each other. Whenever Pedro is sick, it is Tita who takes care of him. Also with the accident they had in the ranch that was caused by the ghost of Mama Elena, it was Tita who took care of him. Rosaura didn’t get the chance to be beside his husband at the time when he got sick because Pedro only longed to be beside Tita and not with Rosaura. This made Rosaura feel worst towards Tita yet she had no choice since it was Pedro’s decision to be with Tita.

Later on, Rosaura had intestinal problem and had become weaker. It was then that Tita and Pedro had all the chances of being together. Esperanza, Pedro’s daughter had grown up and got married to Dr. Brown’s son. The love triangle between Dr. Brown, Tita and Pedro didn’t stop although they have already accepted what they’re role in their lives are. During the wedding of Esperanza, Tita was the one who cooked the food. Again, the magic of her emotions affected the food that she prepared. The

guests felt the lust that Tita had felt while she prepared the food. The crowd all went to find a spot to make love due to eating Tita’s food.

After the wedding, Tita and Pedro also made love in the ranch where they placed candles around the entire room. Chancha, the chef who brought up showed up and helped Tita prepare for their night with Pedro. The ghost of Chancha was Tita’s guardian angel all along. She helped her conquer Mama Elena’s curse. Tita In the middle of their love making, due to intensity, they reached the second the second life where it applies magical realism as well. It is like reaching their love for each other through eternity. Meanwhile, the intensity caused Pedro’s death on top of Tita which made here decide to swallow the match stick to cut her life of and be with Pedro eternally.

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