Hyprocrisy and Familial Opression in Esquivel´s Like Water for Chocolate and Robinson Jeffers´ Medea

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In both Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate and Robinson Jeffers’ Medea hypocrisy and familial oppression engender subversion of societal convention and gender norms in Medea and Tita; who thus strive to attain justice and defeat their oppressors, albeit through different means. It appears as though, in both works, it is the acts of the family and society against the women, which consequently extinguish or smother some sort of romantic love, that are the root cause of their subversive actions. Needless to say, both protagonists strive to uproot their oppressors and either enact vengeance or kindle a romance. Both women go against their pre-designated role in society, and at times ironically dominate over their male counterparts. The way both characters finally attain freedom and defeat their oppressor is by directly defying them, by going against established cultural and gender roles. Incidentally the feminist sentiment that naturally accompanies this is purposeful, and is used by the authors to show how women need to be powerful in order to attain what they want in a male dominated society. The final ways they conquer their oppressors is by freeing themselves symbolically and becoming outsiders that are away from the all too unjust world they knew.

In both works the protagonists act in opposition to the established cultural roles society has dealt them. In ancient Greek society, women were controlled by their father before they were married, and controlled by their spouse once they were married; Medea opposes this convention and ultimately succeeds in overthrowing it. In fact the theme of reversal of gender roles pervades the entire text. This is exemplified when at the end of the play Medea domineeringly states, “Now of...

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...e once both characters were blissfully in love, the same love was denied to them; as such both characters changed by becoming outsiders and breaking free of the gender and social roles they were cast. Moreover both characters directly confront their oppressors and symbolically free themselves. Most importantly Tita and Medea are shown as strong and masculine in comparison to the males in both novels. Both authors purposely depict the protagonists in opposition to societal convention to show just how hypocritical and unjust the society really is. So in a sense Tita and Medea are not really outsiders or outliers who “subvert” societal convention; in actuality they are just strong women who will not stand for injustice and find a way to get what they deserve. Whether they accomplish this through brutal revenge or sensual cooking both characters prevail.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how hypocrisy and familial oppression engender subversion of societal convention and gender norms in laura esquivel's like water for chocolate and robinson jeffers' medea.
  • Analyzes how medea opposes the established cultural roles society has dealt her. the theme of reversal of gender roles pervades the entire text.
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