Revolution in Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Revolution in Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

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Revolution in Like Water for Chocolate  

Revolutions throughout the history of humankind have established change of traditions as the normal occurrence throughout our history. Revolutions in households can also occur when traditions that are contrary to the desires of one, interfere with the values of another.

In the book "Like Water for Chocolate," a major revolution develops between mother and daughter, Mama Elena and Tita. Like most revolutions, traditions are the major factor in the revolution that happens between these two; Tradition states that the youngest daughter must not marry, but must take care of the mother until she dies. Nevertheless, when a young man decides to ask for Tita's hand in marriage, Mama Elena flat out refuses to hear any more about the subject. She says to Tita on page 10, "If he intends to ask for your hand, tell him not to bother . . ." Then Tita realizes the hopelessness of her situation and from that moment on she swore "to protest her mother's ruling" (11). The revolution continues to build until finally after many years of torment by her mother, Tita leaves the family ranch. Then after awhile, when Mama Elena becomes paralyzed by bandits, Tita feels compelled to return to the ranch and care for her mother. In returning Tita felt that her return humiliated her mother because how cruelly she had treated her daughter in the past (130).

When Tita had made dinner for her mother, Mama Elena brutally rejected her kindness. Tita could not understand why her mother treated her cruelly, "she didn't understand Mama Elena's attitude . . . It was beyond her comprehension that one person, whatever her relationship with another, could reject the kind gesture in such a brutal manner . . ." (130-131). After all that they had gone through, Tita thought at least some things had changed. Of course nothing had changed because Mama Elena saw her daughter as she saw her self many years before. But after her mother's death Tita was enlightened when see discovered her mother's love letters from José, her mother's only true love (137).

As Tita read her mothers letters, she discovered the reason behind her mother's personality, both psychologically and emotionally. "José was the love of her life. She hadn't been allowed to marry him because he had Negro blood in his veins .

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. . When Mama Elena's parents discovered the love that existed between their daughter and this mulatto, they were horrified and forced her into an immediate marriage with . . . Tita's father."

Even though Tita knew the truth about her mother, her guilt for not understanding brought on Mama Elena's ghost. When Tita thought she was pregnant by Pedro, Mama Elena paid her a visit in the kitchen accusing her of blackening her family’s reputation by immorality. Yet accurately it was Tita's guilt, since she was not pregnant (173). So the only way Tita was ever going to rid herself of her mother was to stand up to her. Finally toward the end of the book, mother and daughter were finally face-to-face on even ground.

Mama Elena's ghost, Tita's imagination, lashed out at her daughter, "You and Pedro are shameless . . . you behave like a good woman, or a decent one at least!" (199)

Tita, because of having read her mother's diary and love letters finally got peace when she said, "What do you mean, decent? Like you? . . . Or didn't you have an illicit child? . . . I hate you, I've always hated you!" (199)

Tita finally won and triumphed over her domineering mother, "Tita had said the magic words that would make Mama Elena disappear forever" (199).

The revolution between mother and daughter was caused when Mama Elena felt guilty at making her daughter observe tradition. Mama Elena must have loved Tita very much, and it is safe to say that Tita's mother was afraid of losing the only other person that she truly loved. But because of her loss of José she did not know how to show true affection.

Tita, on the other hand, felt smothered by her overbearing mother. She wanted something more out of life then just taking care of her mother, she needed a different kind of love. Mama Elena and Tita truly loved one another but was not aware of the extent that they loved each other.

As is true in real life, a song that describes reality is entitled "Don't Know What You've Got, 'Til It's Gone." If people would just hold on to what they have, then everything will work for them. But most people are not satisfied with their life, so they try to seek something better which usually leads to disaster. If Mama Elena had compromised, and if Tita had married John then both could have enjoyed a longer and more enjoyable life.

 

 
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