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Mexico at the turn of the century, during the Mexican Revolution. The
novel covers a time span of around thirty five years and is organized in
monthly instalments with each month introduced by a traditional Spanish
recipe. Most of the novel takes place on a Mexican ranch and is about a
family with a very traditional mother. Within this novel, food and love
intertwine to form a tale of forbidden romance.
Like Water for Chocolate is a romantic love story about the
frustration, heartache and joys of a true love that could be passionate,
but is forbidden and destroyed by a mother with traditional values. Pedro
confessed his love for Tita and promised to be true to her, from then on
they were bound together by love at first sight. One thing held the two
from pursuing their love- a family tradition. This tradition states that
the youngest daughter born to Mama Elena must take care of her until she
dies, meaning Tita could not be married but must devote all her time to her
mother. Pedro ends up marrying one of Tita's sisters, Rosaura, in order
to be close to Tita. Tita was practically raised in the kitchen and she
communicates her love for Pedro through the dishes she prepares, and he in
turn shows his affectionate gratitude. Tita's quest to be with Pedro is
shared only with Nacha, the main cook and helper in the ranch. Nacha
understands Tita's pain and consoles with her. Nacha dies from sorrow of
loss of her love and throughout the story appears as a kindly ghost.
Pedro and Rosaura move away from the ranch leaving Tita alone. She then
discovers her love for a local doctor, John Brown, who cares for her
deeply. Tita realizes her love for John could never compare to her
suppressed feelings for Pedro. As the story progresses, many tragedies
occur, but Tita and Pedro still have undying love for each other.
Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can't
strike them all by ourselves; we need oxygen and a candle to help. The
oxygen would come from the breath of the person you love; the candle would
be any kind of food, music, caress, word or sound that engenders the
explosion that lights one of the matches. For a moment we are dazzled by
an intense emotion. A pleasant warmth grows within us, fading slowly as
time goes by, until a new explosion comes along to revive it.
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has to discover what will set off those explosions in order to live, since
the combustion that occurs when one of them is ignited is what nourishes
the soul. That fire is its food. If one doesn't find out in time what
will set off these explosions, the box of matches dampens, and not a single
match will ever be lighted.
This theory that John tells to Tita is very symbolic in this tale
of losing hope and rekindling the flame that seems to be burning away.
Like Water for Chocolate is Laura Esquivel's first novel.
Originally she was a screenwriter and appeared in Chido One when she was
nominated for the Ariel award for best screenplay.
Laura Esquivel was born and raised in Mexico and may have written
this novel with the hope of portraying to her readers some Spanish
background and history. As well, she may have used her novel to show
her talent and creativity which she could not portray in her previous
screenplay. She is a young author and is working on a current novel.
This novel is the kind of book anyone would appreciate. It is
full of suspense, emotion and tradition. Some parts of the novel are very
far fetched but this unique style of writing is all part of this fantasy.
Like Water for Chocolate is definitely worthwhile to read. It will leave
you with a sense of knowledge of all the hardships that Mexican women once
went through and a better understanding of the pain love can possess.
In Like Water for Chocolate, love, food and magic are all joined
together. Love is expressed through food. The food is magical and
causes others to feel happy love, sad love, as well as sexual love. Being
able to feel the emotions and pain of the main character is an incredible
sense that can be achieved in Like Water for Chocolate. This novel will
be hard to put down, the subtle climax's leave you hanging until the very
end. Just as Tita poured love into her food, Laura Esquivel has poured
love into her novel. After reading this book, a sense of understanding
can be grasped of the author as well as the main character.