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Laura Esquivel is a mexican writer and author. Born on September 30, 1950, in Mexico City, Mexico. Thee third of four children of Julio Caesar Esquivel, a telegraph operator, and his wife, Josephina. In an interview with Molly O'Neill in the New York Times. Esquivel explained, "I grew up in a modern home, but my grandmother lived across the street in an old house that was built when churches were illegal in Mexico
Esquivel began writing while working as a kindergarten teacher. She wrote plays for her students and then went on to write children's television programs during the 1970s and 1980s.
Esquivel often explores the relationship between men and women in Mexico in her work. She is best known for Like Water for Chocolate (1990), an imaginative and compelling combination of novel and cookbook. It had been released in Mexico a year earlier. After the release of the film version in 1992, Like Water for Chocolate became internationally known and loved. The book has sold more than 4.5 million copies. She has continued to show her creative flair and lyrical style in her later work. Accompanied by a collection of music, her second novel The Law of Love (1996) combined romance and science fiction. Between the Fires (2000) featured essays on life, love, and food. Her most recent novel, Malinche (2006), explores the life of a near mythic figure in Mexican history-the woman who served as Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés's interpreter and mistress.Once married to director Alfonso Arau, Esquivel is divorced and lives in Mexico City, Mexico.
She had a chapel in the home, right between the kitchen and dining room. The smell of nuts and chilies and garlic got all mixed up with the smells from the chapel, my grandmother's carnations. the liniments and healing herbs." These experiences in her family's kitchen provided the inspiration for Esquivel's first novel.
Esquivel grew up in Mexico City and attended the Escuela Normal de Maestros, the national teachers' college. After teaching school for eight years, Esquivel began writing and directing for children's theater. In the early 1980s she wrote the screenplay for the Mexican film Chido One.
II. SUMMARY OF THE NOVEL
Like water for chocolate or "como agua para chocolate" in Spanish is a popular novel written by Laura Esquivel, a Mexican writer, and was published in 1989. It is a novel in monthly installments with recipes, romances and home remedies.
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It is a story of Tita De La Garza, the youngest daughter of a Mama Elena, and younger sister of Gertrudis and Rosaura. Her family is living in Mexico and owns a ranch. Tita was born at the kitchen. Because of her unusual birth she felt a deep love for the kitchen starting from then on and for the rest of her living years, she knows everything about cooking. Nacha their cook is the one who taught Tita to cook. When his father died two days after she was born, her mother was able to take charge of the whole ranch and the family needs.
When she was fifteen her love, Pedro Musquiz went to there house and ask for tita's hand in marriage but Mama Elena disagreed because of their family's tradition that the youngest daughter is illicit to get married until her mother's death and so Mama Elena propound Pedro to marry Rosaura instead. He agreed in that accord but he declares to his father that he has only married Rosaura to remain close to Tita. Nacha and Tita were assigned to prepare for the wedding. At the wedding when the guests are eating the cake they felt sick and vomit. It was because while tita was making the cake, tears came rolling down from her eyes. After the wedding Pedro told tita that he has married Rosaura to get closer to her and that she is still the one whom he loves. After that when tita return to the kitchen to tell Nacha what Pedro told her, she found Nacha lying dead. Then from then on Pedro live on the ranch and remains contact with tita. One day tita cooks an extraordinary meal with the petals of rose given to her by Pedro and has stain of her blood. The still-intense force of their love that was transmitted through the food has an intense effect on her sister Gertrudis, who is rouse into a lascivious state then went out of the ranch naked then, make love with a soldier while on horseback and flee the ranch. In the meantime Rosaura gave birth to her son. Tita treated her nephew Roberto as if it was her own child. After Rosaura gave birth she couldn't produce milk and an extraordinary thing happened Tita was be able to produce milk even if its impossible for a married woman to have a milk. Instead of Roberto causing Tita and Pedro to make distance, it only brought them closer together, sensing this Mama Elena decided to send Rosaura's family to San Antonio, Texas. Because of her separation from Roberto and from Pedro also, tita was dumbfounded. Not later on, the news came that Roberto died. Tita blames her mother for her nephew's death and because of this tita had a breakdown. Because of this Mama Elena sends tita to a refuge, a doctor there named John brown took pity on her and take it with him to his house. He took care of tita and fell in love with her. From then Tita didn't talk anymore. One day Chencha visited her, gave her a letter coming from Gertrudis and brought her an oxtail soup that is the time when she gets back all her senses. She began to talk again after six months. When Chencha went back another rebel troops arrived, and raped her, Mama Elena was also injured at this time. Tita promise never to return again to that ranch but when she received the news that Mama Elena was injured by rebel soldiers she decided to visit her and cooks for her, Mama Elena only rejected her good will and accused her that what she cooks is poisoned. When mama Elena died she went back again to the ranch and found out the true story of her mother's love. She also found out that Gertrudis is the daughter of Mama Elena's true love. Not long after Mama Elena died, tita accepted an engagement proposal from Dr. Brown, whom she fell in love with too. At the meantime Rosaura and Pedro went back to the ranch and give birth to a second child, Esperanza. Pedro's coming back made tita's feeling for Brown obscure. The night that John will officially ask Pedro to bless their marriage, Pedro manages to corner tita in a dark room and made love with her taking her virginity, it was the first time they made love. Chencha on the other hand return now, recovered from the tragedy that happened to her and had married to Jesus Martinez.
Next Gertrudis also went to the ranch and now the leader of the troop. At this time she thought that she was pregnant and the fact that something happened between her and Pedro. She confessed it to Gertrudis and in the middle of their talking Pedro who happened to pass by heard it. Then He and Tita talked, Pedro felt very happy at that time. While Tita was in her room mama Elena's ghost haunts her and told her that the child she was bearing is a curse but after she has said the magic words Mama Elena disappeared. In the meantime Pedro was singing at the front of her window drunken but accidentally a firecracker fired and Pedro got burnt. After some time, Tita confessed to Brown that she and Pedro made love and The wedding was cancelled. .Tita and Brown's relationship end but in a nice way. Years pass and the ranch centre on another wedding, the wedding of Esperanza and Alex, John's son. Rosaura died, freeing her only daughter, and with Rosaura dead and Esperanza married. Pedro and Tita are finally free, and could now express their love for each other open. The lovers finally share their night together, made love that is so heated and full of passion that causes Pedro's death while making love with tita. In their union the heat coming from them sets fire to the whole ranch and lead to their deaths, only leaving the ranch with Tita's recipe book.
A. Feminist Approach
Mexican traditions are somewhat related or similar to Filipino Tradition before. Like, the parents are the ones who decide for their children. They cannot decide on their own. Like for example in the novel. When Mama Elena utters:
"If he intends to ask for your hand, tell him not to bother"
In what Mama Elena has said, it was as if she is commanding Tita to do whatever she says. Tita not only her but her sisters as well could not say no to their mother. And in addition to that when Tita tried to express her insights or opinion, Mama Elena only said to her that:
"You don't have an opinion, and that's all I want to hear about it. For generations, not a single person in my family has ever questioned this tradition, and no daughter of mine is going to be the one to start."
At what is said above. Tita could not do anything about that, but she intends to protest and somewhat fight for her right as what she has said and is prove by her line:
"But in my opinion"
Mama Elena exercises her power over men and her family. All the people who are under her and all her siblings must follow her, because she has the total control over her family.
Another Mexican tradition is that the youngest is forbidden to get married until her mother draw her one last breathe. This
Esquivel, L(1989. Like water for chocolaye.
United States: Anchor books, Random House, Inc.