Paradise of the Blind and Like Water for Chocolate Essay

Paradise of the Blind and Like Water for Chocolate Essay

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A strong maternal bond is crucial in one’s life; however in both Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, the authors portray the distant relationship between the mother and the daughter as a tool to critique the ‘inhuman’ traditions imposed upon the family members in their respective societies. Though Houng’s and Esquivel’s novels are set in Vietnam and Mexico respectively, they assert that family traditions are unjust and forbid family members to pursue their own dreams, ambitions, and desires as portrayed by the two teenage protagonists and their mothers, who are obligated to sacrifice their own lives for others. In order to gain their freedom, the protagonists have to detach themselves from their oppressive, domineering mothers to break away from the undesirable family traditions in their culture.
Early in Like Water for Chocolate, the reader is introduced to the abnormal mother-daughter relationship right away as Nacha, the family cook, “offers to take charge of feeding Tita” (Esquivel 6) after Mama Elena’s “milk dried up from the shock” (Esquivel 6) of her husband’s death. Moreover, Mama Elena arranges a marriage for Rosaura, Tita’s sister, to marry Tita’s true love Pedro, which develops Tita’s abhorrence towards her mother significantly. Tita’s hatred towards her mother is mostly due to the fact that she is prohibited from marrying under the tradition that the youngest daughter has to take care of her mother until she passes away; therefore, resulting in a widening gap between the two. Portraying Tita’s domain and realm as the kitchen underscores Esquivel’s complete condemnation of family traditions as she is ordered to cook in the kitchen at all times, preparing meals for he...


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... family traditions because they are innocent and fragile compared to men, therefore dramatizing the effects of the ‘inhuman’ traditions. A maternal bond is a very crucial component of one’s life; therefore by disrupting the usual aspect of one’s life, the authors are sending their message in a strong manner. Furthermore, the ending of both novels imply a necessity for social improvement in their societies as the protagonists have to detach themselves from their repressive mothers, who represent the authorities of the old generation with their overbearing attitudes, in order to pursue their own dreams, whether it is for education, career, or love. After the protagonists break away from their mothers, Tita chases her love for Pedro and Hang leaves the country, abandoning all the traditional traditions, to continue with her college education and occupation in Russia.

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