Food as a Metaphor for Unexpressed Emotions in Like Water for Chocolate An oppressed soul finds means to escape through the preparation of food in the novel, Like Water for Chocolate (1992). Written by Laura Esquivel, the story is set in revolutionary Mexico at the turn of the century. Tita, the young heroine, is living on her family’s ranch with her two older sisters, her overbearing mother, and Nacha, the family cook and Tita’s surrogate mother. At a very young age, Tita is instilled with a deep love for food "for Tita, the joy of living was wrapped up in the delights of food" (7). The sudden death of Tita's father, left Tita's mother's unable to nurse the infant Tita due to shock and grief.
“Hold the Mayonnaise,” begins with a Latino mother giving her two daughters advice. “If I die first and Papi ever gets remarried,” Mami used to tease when we were kids, “don’t you accept a new woman in my house. Make her life impossible, you hear?” (Alvarez 699). This small family of immigrants had just moved to Jamaica Queens, New York. Therefore, it only seemed natural that if their father ever remarried, their future stepmother would be American.
To understand fully the implicit meaning and cultural challenges the film presents, a general knowledge of the film’s contents must be presented. The protagonist, Tita, suffers from typical Hispanic cultural oppression. The family rule, a common rule in this culture, was that the youngest daughter is to remain unwed for the duration of her mother’s life, and remain home to care for her. Mama Elena offers her daughter, Tita’s older sister Rosaura, to wed a man named Pedro, who is unknowingly in mutual love with Tita. Tita is forced to bake the cake for the wedding, which contains many tears that she cried during the process.
Foreshadowing can also be shown by using magical realism. Magical realism also adds humour to the novel, which would otherwise be a serious story. But most importantly, it allows for the protagonist, Tita, to express her feeling and memories through the food that is so central to her life. Magical realism can be seen throughout the novel, even at the very beginning. The start of the story shows Tita’s birth in the kitchen “Tita was literally washed into this world on a great tide of tears that spilled over the edge of the table and flooded across the kitchen floor.” This foreshadows all the sorrow that Tita will go through in her life, and all the tears she will cry.
Her days are spent perfecting homemade birthday cakes and catering to her family's needs. However, the movie takes a twist when she suddenly abandons her perfect life and perfect family. The ideal woman of today is no longer expected to fit the homemaker mold. In fact, many women who do choose to stay at home full time experience social scrutiny for not developing careers of their own. In the movies today we see two images of the modern woman, yet only one of these two is today's ideal woman.
Tita uses an unexpected weapon to achieve her goal of victory; food. She realizes the power that food offers her. The first experience of this power is wielded at the wedding of her sister Rosaura and Tita's forbidden lover. At conflict with her sister for accepting the marriage proposal from Pedro, angered and hurt by Pedro's decision to
However Mama Elena is trying to destroy their happiness using the family traditions, Tita doesn’t stop fighting for her forbidden love Pedro.The story keeps getting interesting and by using the magical realism; its even getting more excited.Tita’s portrayed as the strong loving woman that’s being treated as a slave through her inner fire which is full of love and passion. To start with, Tita is a sensitive girl since day one, who faced a lot of problem through her life because of her cruel mother. Tita was born in the kitchen next to onions. The writer said “Tita was so sensitive to onions, any time they were being chopped, they say she would just cry and cry". While being born a stream of tears came out with her that dried, and the family took the salt from it for cooking.
Throughout the story the mother has an accusatory tone when telling her daughter how to act to not be perceived as a slut, “this way [men] won’t recognize immediately the slut I have warned you against becoming” (Kincaid 128). The last portion of the story seems to be the most inflamed, the second time the girl interrupts her mother is to ask her mother what to do if the baker would not let her feel the bread. This infuriates the mother the most, “you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won’t let near the bread?” (Kincaid 129). Kinkaid uses “squeezing” and “feeling” bread as a metaphor for sex and seductiveness, the baker refusing to allow her to feel the bread is meant to show sexual disapproval. The metaphor also shows that sluts are outcasts from society, a type of person that a baker would not want anywhere near his bread.
The astronomer’s wife is managing the house finding the silliest things to keep her busy: “…from the removal of the spot left there from dinner on the astronomer’s vest to the severe trashing of the mayonnaise for lunch”. Elisa spends her days in garden raising chrysanthemums “bigger than anybody around here.” The fact that these two women did not have any children can mislead us to the conclusion that they were both trying to satisfy the instincts they were probably having at the age of thirty-five. While this is the case with Elisa, the astronomer’s wife had different problem: the lack of communication with her husband and incapability to understand the world he was in.
Instead of making the ugly daughter work to get rid of her laziness, she makes the pretty girl do all of the house work and allows the ugly daughter to remain lazy, but the pretty girl does not complain. The ugly sister and her mother treat the pretty sister very poorly and give her no respect. They make her clean and tend to all the chores of the house. Her mother also makes her spin thread by a well everyday. After the pretty one loses the spindle down the well, the mother yells and scolds her for doing such a stupid thing and tells her to get the spindle back.