Comparing Like Water for Chocolate and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

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Like Water for Chocolate and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Like Water for Chocolate (LWC) written by Laura Esquivel and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (ODLID) written by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, are two very different types of novels with more evident discrepancies than similarities. The first novel LWC, splendidly illustrates the life of a young Mexican campesina named Tita whom lives under the authoritarian rule of her mother. The second novel ODLID, originally a Russian publication, demonstrates the life and hardships of a middle-aged man named Ivan Denisovich in a Soviet work camp in Siberia. The themes revolve around both protagonists, Tita and Ivan, whom each set the overall tone of the novels. The dominant theme in both novels is the oppression the protagonists are exposed to on a daily basis. Consequently, the characters and the plots also incorporate aspects of oppression such as parental censorship and personal ill treatment. The characters, theme, and plots correlate with one another and also are associated with the cultural background of each novel, ODLID from Russia and LWC from Mexico. The influence culture has on the development of the characters, theme, and plots sets the stage for apparent similarities and differences between both novels. The primary examples of cultural influences in LWC and in ODLID, are the mindsets of the protagonists. The cultures influence the rather listless conduct of the protagonists by establishing precincts that cripple their inner aspirations. Initially, Tita's conduct is influenced by the Mexican culture. She demonstrates a submissive behavior towards her mother. This is explained by Mexican culture of the early nineteen ... ... middle of paper ... ...al influences. In LWC, the Mexican culture plays huge role in the novel introducing the reader to a unique lifestyle packed with cooking, love affairs, attractive dramas, and oppressed dreams. In ODLID, the Russian culture also flavors the novel by creating a very vapid and listless stage on which Ivan Denisovich's daily routine is delineated as realistic as possible. It would be tedious to point out all the ways, in which culture influences each novel, but it is important to take into account the prominent role culture plays in the formation of the individual novels. Like Water for Chocolate (LWC) written by Laura Esquivel and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (ODLID) written by Alexander Solzhenitsyn do not only exemplify great pieces of literature, instead they also serve as tools to map out and comprehend the cultures they were built upon.

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