2Like Water for Chocolate Like Water For Chocolate belongs to the genre of magical realism
3Like Water for Chocolate The characters in Like Water for Chocolate are set against the backdrop of the most important modernizing force in Mexican history, the Mexican Revolution ofDuring this time, peasants and natives banded together under the leadership of figures such as Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata to reject the old order's dictatorship, revive democracy, and claim Mexico for the everyday man and woman. Esquivel uses the revolution to explore themes of masculinity and gender identity, and examine how individuals appropriate for themselves the revolution's goal of liberty.
4SummaryTita De La Garza, the youngest daughter in a family living in Mexico at the turn of the twentieth century.Each chapter is a “monthly installment" and labeled with the months of the year, we learn of Tita's struggle to pursue true love and claim her independence.Each installment features a recipe to begin each chapter.Food is often a direct cause of physical and emotional unrest, and serves as a medium through which emotions can be transmitted.
5Story StructureThe structure of Like Water For Chocolate is wholly dependent on these recipes, as the main episodes of each chapter generally involve the preparation or consumption of the dishes that these recipes yield. The details of additional secondary recipes are woven throughout the narrativeTita De La Garza, the youngest daughter in a family living in Mexico at the turn of the twentieth century. Tita's love, Pedro Muzquiz, comes to the family's ranch to ask for Tita's hand in marriage
6Because Tita is the youngest daughter she is forbidden by a family tradition upheld by her tyrannical mother, Mama Elena, to marry. Pedro marries Tita's oldest sister, Rosaura, instead, but declares to his father that he has only married Rosaura to remain close to TitaRosaura and Pedro live on the family ranch, offering Pedro contact with Tita. When Tita cooks a special meal with the petals of a rose given to her by Pedro, the still-fiery force of their love (transmitted through the food) has an intense effect on Mama Elena's second daughter, Gertrudis, who is whipped into a lustful state and flees the ranch in the arms of a revolutionary soldier.
7Meanwhile, Rosaura gives birth to a son, who is delivered by Tita Meanwhile, Rosaura gives birth to a son, who is delivered by Tita. Tita treats her nephew, Roberto, as if he were her own child, to the point that she is able to produce breast milk to feed him while her sister is dry.Sensing that Roberto is drawing Pedro and Tita closer together, Mama Elena arranges for Rosaura's family to move to San Antonio. This separation devastates Tita. A short time later, news arrives that Roberto has died, most likely due to his removal from Tita's care
8The death of her nephew causes Tita to have a breakdown, and Mama Elena sends her to an asylum. Dr. John Brown, a local American doctor, takes pity on Tita and brings her to live in his house.He patiently nurses Tita back to health, caring for her physical ailments and trying to revive her broken spirit. After some time, Tita is nearly well, and she decides never to return to the ranch. No sooner has she made this choice than Mama Elena is injured in a raid by rebel soldiers, forcing Tita to return.
9Tita hopes to care for her mother, but Mama Elena bitterly rejects Tita's good will. She refuses Tita's cooking, claiming that it is poisoned. Not long after, Mama Elena is found dead from an overdose of a strong emetic she consumed for fear of poisoning.The death of Mama Elena frees Tita from the curse of her birthright and she accepts an engagement proposal from John Brown, with whom she has fallen in love. In the meantime
10Rosaura and Pedro have returned to the ranch and have produced a second child, Esperanza. Immediately, Pedro's presence throws into question Tita's love for JohnThe night that John officially asks Pedro to bless the marriage, Pedro takes her virginity. Soon after, Tita is certain that she is pregnant and knows that she will have to end her engagement to John. The affair between Pedro and Tita prompts the return of Mama Elena, who comes in spirit form to curse Tita and her unborn child
11Tita is distraught and has no one in whom she can confide. In the midst of Tita's despair, the long-lost Gertrudis returns to the ranch as a general in the revolutionary army, at the helm of a regiment of fifty men.Tita is overjoyed at the return of Gertrudis, who is just the companion she seeks. Gertrudis forces Tita to tell Pedro about the pregnancy. He is gladdened at the news, and he drunkenly serenades Tita from below her window. Outraged, Mama Elena's ghost returns, violently threatening Tita and declaring that she must leave the ranch
12The light from Mama Elena's ghost bursts through Tita's window and onto the patio below where Pedro still sits, setting fire to his entire body. After rescuing Pedro, Tita is consumed with caring for him and helping him recover. John Brown returns from a trip to the United States and Tita confesses to him her relations with Pedro. John replies that he still wishes to marry her but that she must decide for herself with whom she wishes to spend her lifeFor the first time, Tita stands up to Mama Elena and, in forceful words, declares her autonomy, banishing her mother's spirit, which shrinks from an imposing presence into a tiny fiery light. As she expels the ghost, Tita is simultaneously relieved of all her symptoms of pregnancy
13Years pass, and the ranch focuses its attention on another wedding, this time between Esperanza and Alex, the son of John Brown. Rosaura has died, freeing her only daughter, Esperanza, from the stricture that had previously forbidden her, as it had Tita, from marryingWith Rosaura dead and Esperanza married, Tita and Pedro are finally free to express their love in the open. On their first night together, Tita and Pedro experience love so intense that both are led to a tunnel that will carry them to the afterlife
14Tita turns back, wanting to continue in life and in love with Pedro Tita turns back, wanting to continue in life and in love with Pedro. Once she does, she realizes that Pedro has already crossed over. Wanting desperately to be with him, Tita attempts to ignite her inner fire by eating the candles that had lit the room until they extinguished themselves at the moment of Pedro's death.When she succeeds in recreating the climate of true passion, she reenters the luminous tunnel and meets Pedro in the spirit world. The final union of their bodies and spirits sets fire to the entire ranch, and the only remnant left of their love is the recipe book in which Tita recorded her wisdom.
15CharactersTita - The protagonist of the novel, Tita is the youngest daughter of Mama Elena, prohibited by family tradition from marrying so that she will be free to take care of her mother later in lifeMama Elena - The tyrannical, widowed matriarch of the De La Garza clan, Mama Elena is the prime source of Tita's sufferingPedro - Tita's true love, and the eventual father of Roberto and EsperanzaRosaura - The second daughter of Mama Elena, Rosaura marries Pedro, much to the despair of Tita.Gertrudis - The eldest daughter of Mama Elena, Gertrudis escapes the ranch after reacting mysteriously to one of Tita's recipesDr. John Brown - An American doctor who cares for Tita when she experiences a breakdown, and the father of AlexNacha - The ranch cookEsperanza - The second child of Rosaura and Pedro, and the mother of the narrator of the novelAlex - The son of Dr. John Brown, and the father of the narrator
16Januaryto avoid tears when chopping onions, one must simply place a slice of onion on one's headTita, into the world, as she is born in the kitchen, crying, amidst of flood of her mother's tears. The image of Tita flowing into the world in a flood of tears prefigures the sadness and longing that will pervade her life After Tita's birth, the flood of tears dries to leave ten pounds of salt to be collected and used for cooking. The practical attitude with which the characters greet this surreal happening helps to establish the supernatural as an accepted part of the characters' lives.Tita is reared by the house cook, Nacha, in the kitchen, surrounded by the colors, smells, and routines. She grows up understanding the world in terms of food. She enjoys her isolation in the domain of the kitchen.Pedro arrives unannounced asking for Tita's hand. Mama Elena refuses this marriage proposal, offering instead the hand of her second daughter, Rosaura. Tita of her sadness.Tita is struck by a feeling of cold; to warm herself, she resumes work on a bedspread, which she had begun crocheting when she and Pedro first began to talk of marriage. Tita's nights of insomnia spent feverishly crocheting a bedspread represent her desperate desire for the heat of love and help establish the pattern of Tita's channeling her passion into domestic activities (she later transmits her passion for Pedro through cooking). As with many of the behaviors in the novel, Tita's reaction to the feeling of cold is exaggerated so as to highlight the intensity of the emotion behind the action.
17February Chabela Wedding Cake The wedding feast requires gigantic proportions of food--170 eggs for the cake and 200 roosters to be fattened up and served as capons. In shock from the circumstances and fatigued by the work required to prepare the feast, Tita is plagued by hallucinations. When Mama Elena leaves the kitchen, Nacha encourages Tita to release her emotions before the wedding. Finally able to express herself, Tita breaks down into endless tears. After weeping profusely, Tita continues cooking and finds that her tears have made the cake batter soggy. Nacha tastes the cake icing to see if Tita's tears have made it salty. She finds the flavor unchanged, but is suddenly overcome with a sense of immense loss The guests begin to eat the wedding cake, and everyone is reduced to the same fit of longing and wailing that struck Nacha earlier. The heartache is coupled with bouts of vomiting, and the entire wedding party is ruined.Tita suffers a vicious beating she suffers at the hands of Mama Elena, who is certain that Tita purposefully poisoned the wedding cakeThe weakness and hallucinations that Tita experiences while preparing the wedding feast are physical manifestations of the heartache that begins with her terrible cold. The focus of her hallucinations on the whiteness of these objects comments on the purity of Tita's emotions, in contrast to the loveless, and hence impure, nature of the impending union between Rosaura and Pedro. Additionally, the color white evokes ideals of femininity and womanhood--ideals to which Tita will never be able to conform because she is forbidden to love and marry Tita's tears induce incessant vomiting and a terrible sense of loss among the wedding guests. However, more than a mere echo of Tita's sorrow, these effects constitute a violent and amplified expression of emotion, as the cake inflicts actual pain. She subconsciously transforms the emotional violence she has suffered into an act of social violence. However, Mama Elena responds with real physical violence, illustrating the limits of Tita's expression
18March Quail in rose petal sauce Inheriting the role of ranch cook, Tita comforts herself by preparing elaborate dishes. With a rose given to her secretly by Pedro, Tita prepares quail in rose petal sauce. The recipe is of pre-Hispanic origin, and it is in Nacha's voice that the secrets are transmitted. The meal serves as an aphrodisiac for Gertrudis, arousing in her an insatiable sexual desire The force of her heat and passion, still strong from the aphrodisiacal meal, causes the water from the primitive ranch shower to evaporate on contact and eventually sets the structure on fire. Fleeing naked from the burning shower, Gertrudis is scooped up onto a galloping horse by a soldier in the revolutionary army, who was drawn to the area by her intoxicating scent. Tita can only articulate her sexuality within the domestic sphere, Gertrudis is able to exceed these boundaries without a second thought The free expression of female desire clearly has no place in the ordered domestic realm. Additionally, her insatiable desire may also be related to the circumstances of her parentage, because she was born of a love that was never fulfilled
19AprilBaptism mealTita's faith in Pedro's love is restored . Tita helped Rosaura birth the baby, and was aided by the spirit voice of Nacha, who guided her in the delicate and dangerous procedure. Rosaura produces no milk and is thus unable to nurse her child. Tita prepares a traditional meal for a child whom she has nursed but did not birth; she exudes motherly love, and the physical act of making a meal is a substitute for the physical act of sex. Tita's relationship to Roberto evokes the Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Conception of Jesus; though still a virgin, Tita produces milk as though she had been pregnant. Tita's breasts symbolize both sexuality and ability to nurture, and her ability to breastfeed Roberto
20May Soldiers take her birds, Tita is taken away by Dr. John Brown Tita is moved to do little but tend to a pigeon she has taken as a pet after Pedro leaves. federal troops raid the ranch and trap as many birds as they can and depart. The absence of the doves and pigeons heightens Tita's sense of loss Roberto has died, unable to consume anything but his Aunt Tita's breast milk. Tita lashes out at Mama Elena, screaming that Mama Elena is to blame for the baby's death. Mama Elena strikes Tita across the face with a wooden spoon, breaking her nose Tita retreats to her dovecote; when Chencha tries to retrieve her, she finds Tita in a catatonic state. Mama Elena orders Tita to be sent to an asylum. Dr. John Brown rescues Tita from the dovecote and takes her away. As Tita leaves, Chencha gives her the enormous bedspread that Tita has been crocheting. It is now a full kilometer long, the product of Tita's endless sorrow Tita's confrontation with Mama Elena marks the first time that Tita is able to assert her beliefs Mama Elena's chief mechanism for countering Tita's rare moments of opposition to her is physical attack. These abuses, physical and emotional, subject Tita's body and mind to the constant threat of violence robbing Tita of her pet birds, the soldiers not only strip her of the opportunity to nurture, but also steal symbols of freedom
21JuneMatchesAt John Brown's house she encounters a figure who reminds her of Nacha. Tita is visited daily by the comforting presence of this silent woman, who turns out to be the ghost of John's grandmother, a Native American named Morning Light. John shares with Tita a recipe for making matches, and with this recipe, he explains the theory that an inner fire burns in each person and describes the ways in which one must protect this fire. . During this time, Tita achieves a bit of independence as she gains a sense of her desires, but she is only able to do so after returning from the depths of madness and remaining still within a very protected domestic space for in her thoughts she realizes that "she knew what set off her explosions, but each time she had managed to light a match, it had persistently been blown out." This inner fire becomes the central image of the novel, one that pervades, and comes to symbolize, Tita's continuing journey toward selfhood
22JulyOx Tail SoupChencha brings her ox-tail soup. With one spoonful Tita instantly recalls the best time of her life, her youth in the kitchen with Nacha, where she enjoyed many foods and Nacha's love. Crying with Chencha, Tita remembers and recounts the recipe for the soup--the first recipe she has been able to remember since her breakdown. Bandits rape Chencha and thrash Mama Elena, who was trying to defend Chencha, rendering her a paraplegic. Tita returns to the ranch to care for Chencha and Mama Elena Tita prepares the same ox-tail soup that so miraculously cured her own illness. Mama Elena rejects Tita's care, humiliated that her disowned daughter has returned. Tita is crestfallen, confident that her meal, prepared with such love and care, would heal Mama Elena. But Mama Elena refuses to eat Tita's food, certain that it is poisoned. Mama Elena only lets Chencha prepare and serve her food Mama Elena fires Chencha. Unable to find anyone else to satisfy the demanding needs of her mother, Tita herself eventually resumes cooking for Mama Elena. Within a month, Mama Elena dies. The cause of her ailments and eventual death is revealed to be massive doses of ipecac (an emetic she took when she feared poisoning), not Tita's cooking. Tita discovers a set of keys that open a box of love letters. The letters reveal that as a young woman, Elena was deeply in love with a mulatto man. Her parents forbid this relationship and forced her into a marriage with the man who would become Tita's fatherThe revelation about Mama Elena's own forbidden love is a crucial moment in Tita's development, as Tita comes to understand Mama Elena's cruelty toward her. Her ability to sympathize with her mother about the pain of restrained love--even though Mama Elena was never willing to sympathize with Tita--coupled with her initial grief at her mother's death, demonstrates her maturity.
23AugustchampandongoThe death of Mama Elena frees Tita from her mother's wretched sentence Tita is intimately involved in raising her niece, as Rosaura is bedridden due to a complicated delivery and unable to nurse Esperanza is reared in the kitchen, just as Tita was, and fed with the same teas and gruels with which Nacha nurtured Tita. Rosaura is quite jealous at the closeness between Tita and the infant. One day she confirms Tita's fears: She announces her intention to follow family doctrine and prohibit Esperanza from marrying. This announcement, combined with Pedro's confrontational efforts to dissuade Tita from marrying John Brown, inspires a terrible rage in Tita. While cooking, Tita experiences a sensation of tremendous heat that compounds the heat of the kitchen to create an intense steam. the arrival of Chencha, who has returned to the ranch happily married and ready to begin a new life. John formally petitions Pedro, now head of the household, for Tita's hand in marriage, Pedro agrees In a small room off the kitchen in which Mama Elena used to bathe, Pedro once again confronts Tita. The consistent images of intense heat in this section reflect the tensions plaguing Tita From a feminist point of view, this confined sexuality is problematic, as it serves to illustrate that though Tita may seek the "freedom" of true love, the possibilities for women of the novel's time period and culture are rather limited.
24September King's Day bread Tita fears that she has become pregnant as a result of her encounter with Pedro. This particular recipe evokes memories of her childhood, especially the loving care of Nacha and companionship of the disappeared Gertrudis. While Tita bakes the bread, Rosaura visits to ask for Tita's help. Rosaura suffers from digestive problems that make her overweight and give her bad breath and flatulence, John Brown has prescribed a diet to ease her discomfort, but Rosaura asks Tita for further assistance with her illness and her marriage. Tita agrees to help Rosaura, providing a special family recipe to cure bad breath and offering special foods to help her lose weight. true spirit of Mama Elena enters with a cold chill. She scolds Tita for her relationship with Pedro and curses the baby growing in Tita's stomach during the party held for the festival of Three Kings, Gertrudis returns to the ranch The return of Mama Elena in the form of a ghost epitomizes the degree to which Mama Elena exercises influence over Tita The return of Gertrudis offers Tita a role model- -a woman who has achieved success by taking risks in her search for personal freedom Recounting stories of improbable battlefield bravado, Gertrudis conforms to the stereotype of the machismo-exuding Mexican male of the early twentieth century. The involvement of a woman such as Gertrudis in the Mexican Revolution is historically accurate Tita locates herself outside the realm of the stifling traditional values imposed by her mother Tita fight back against Mama Elena's emotional abuse and shed her unwanted pregnancy, which was facilitated by Pedro's objectification of her The novel's quality of magical realism illustrates the important relationship between Tita's emotions and her pregnancy
25OctoberGertrudis calmly hears Tita's story and offers steadfast support. the ghost of Mama Elena appears, angered by the sight of Pedro drunkenly serenading Tita under her window The ghost threatens Tita violently Tita stands up to the ghost, expelling her with severe words This proclamation banishes the haunting spirit of Mama Elena, which shrinks into a small, spinning light. At the same instant, Tita feels changes in her body: Her swollen belly is eased, the spinning light has turned into a small fireball. It bursts through the window of Tita's room and onto the patio below, where Pedro remains in a drunken stupor. The fireball causes an oil lamp near Pedro to explode, setting fire to his entire body.
26NovemberTamalesTita, busy nursing Pedro back to health While Tita prepares tamales for dinner, Rosaura emerges from her weeklong exile, having lost sixty-five pounds After her fight with Rosaura, Tita returns to cooking. Suddenly, a frenzy erupts in the yard as all the chickens on the ranch violently attack each other, filling the air with bloody feathers. The chicken fight creates a huge whirl of energy, turning into a forceful tornado Tita staggers back to the kitchen, where she finds that her tamales are not ready for the meal. She remembers Nacha's wise saying that tamales don't cook when people are arguing Tita reveals everything to John. Though disappointed, John says that he still loves Tita However, he asks her to decide By constructing Tita as a defiled woman, Rosaura deflects whatever pain she caused Tita by marrying Pedro The chicken fight symbolizes the chaos in Tita's life John's values as a white man contrast with those of the Mexican De La Garza family; he is not imbued with the same passion as the De La Garzas, but is endowed with a spiritual wisdom that they do not possess
27DecemberThe busy preparations for another wedding find Tita and Chencha working hard in the kitchen the union of Esperanza and Alex, John Brown's son Tita has lived in the household with Rosaura, Pedro, and Esperanza under the guidelines of a silent pact Tita and Pedro pleaded that Esperanza's wishes be respected, while Rosaura staunchly upheld the rigid tradition that her mother had forced on Tita. After days of violent arguments, Rosaura died, still suffering from her unpleasant disorder. Her funeral was poorly attended because of the unbearable smell still emanating from her body. After the beautiful wedding of Esperanza and Alex, Tita and Pedro are finally left on the ranch alone, with no one to keep them apart. experience a bliss so wonderful that Tita views a luminous tunnel leading toward the spirit world. Remembering how John Brown told her of this possibility and how the soul will return through this tunnel, Tita calms herself so that she might continue living and experiencing her newfound joy. At the same time, she feels Pedro's heartbeat rapidly accelerate and then cease. He has died and enters the tunnel in vision afforded him by his bliss Tita consumes the candles that lit the room up until the moment of Pedro's passing. The tunnel again opens itself to Tita, and this time she sees the figure of Pedro at its end Upon returning from their honeymoon, Esperanza and Alex find the ranch burned to the ground. They discover, under many layers of ash, a cookbook that contains all the recipes mastered by Tita.The final consummation of the passion between Tita and Pedro is both tragic and triumphant in that the light of Tita's inner fire is finally free to blaze, but only at the expense of her earthly life The wedding of Esperanza and Alex marks the end of a cycle of repression in the De La Garza family and the beginning of a new happiness for Tita and Pedro. The fire that results when Tita and Pedro embrace in the afterlife destroys the De La Garza ranch and all the stifling cultural notions that bore themselves out there
28Like Water For Chocolate can be distilled into the stories of two women, Tita De La Garza and her mother, the formidable Mama Elena. The trajectory of their struggle against one another is the axis around which the entire novel turns. Tita, the protagonist, strives for love, freedom, and individuality, and Mama Elena, the chief antagonist, stands as the prime opposition to the fulfillment of these goals. Tita develops a relationship with food that gives her the power to nurture and give outlet to her emotions. Esquivel extends the religious-mythical themes of magic realism to the everyday world of the domestic realm of a female-dominated household
29Assignment Illustrate the three De La Garza sisters Choose one of the following as your assignment response.Illustrate the three De La Garza sistersIllustrate Tita as compared to Frida KahloPick a scene to illustrate from the storyWrite a compare/contrast to Tita and Frida.