English / Like Water For Chocolate

Like Water For Chocolate

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Autor:  anton  03 May 2011
Tags:  Chocolate
Words: 1546   |   Pages: 7
Views: 395

An Analysis of the significance of the Three Kings Day bread in Like Water for Chocolate; how does the memory of the Three King's Day bread reveal Tita’s attitude towards her current relationship with her family?

Tita’s revelation of the Three King’s Day Bread addresses the thematic core of the novel Like Water for Chocolate, revealing her exasperation towards her apparent disloyalty to the family suggesting one of the novel’s major themes. That theme is Tita’s repudiation of maintaining a virtuous loyalty to family tradition, for it negates individual expression, and the importances of living life in the same light that the childhood innocence of the quote suggests. It also explains the main point that Esquivel is trying to get across, that life is full of unexpected obstacles and those who are willing to overcome them are the ones who will achieve their true happiness. Therefore, through the use of evocative imagery and flashbacks, Esquivel illustrates Tita’s despondent attitude towards her relationship with her family.

Throughout the quote on page 167-168, Esquivel uses nostalgic imagery to convey Tita’s pessimistic attitude towards her family by describing images of her childhood experiences. One of the five senses that Esquivel utilizes to convey Tita’s attitude is olfaction. Through the sense of smell, Tita is able to recognize her emotions about others. For example, Tita remembers most of the traditional recipes by the aromas that Nacha unleashed in her cooking, inducing the “happy days when [she] was with her” (Esquivel 167) causing Tita to associate her perceptions of other characters through food. “The smells: her noodle soup, her chilaquiles…her seasoning, her teas, her laugh, her herbal remedies…[her cooking] what she craved and whipped the chocolate” (Esquivel 167) all echo optimistic attitudes about Nacha because that was the only facet of imagery that Tita could associate to Nacha. Other features of imagery include visual perceptions that suggest Tita’s reliance on food to identify her attitude about other people. Seeing that Tita grew up in the kitchen, food is the only object that she sees and relates to people. If she saw a boiled egg, for example, she would remember her authoritative mother, Mama Elena, and loath being forced fed a food that she had to accept. In this situation, Tita would associate her distaste for boiled eggs as an expression of passive rebellion towards her mother. Also, the fact that she was force fed by her mother, Tita’s rejection promotes her submissiveness to her mother’s word but also her utmost disdain for what she believe to be best for her daughter. This concludes that although Tita expresses bitter taste for her mother’s seemingly good intention- recall that the narrator focuses on sympathy towards Tita not Mama Elena- she does not appeal to her mother because she necessitated Tita to surrender to tradition, a part of Mexican culture that Tita wants to rebel because it limits her freedom. However, the use of imagery does not end there; Esquivel also employs the sense of touch to show Tita’s feelings towards her closest companions, Pedro and Nacha. Though the passage does not describe ‘touch’ explicitly, the fact that she is preparing a meal inclusively pertains to her reactions to the textures of the food she makes contact with. For example, “while Tita was forming the squares, she [mourns] for the Three King’s days of her childhood;” this demonstrates her sensitivity to touch and her emotions. It seems that whenever she prepares a meal, the textures give rise to a sensation, revealing her quieted attitude about a person or a situation. In the case of the revived memory of the Three King’s Day bread, Tita is ‘touched’ by this memory because she misses the “the single moment form that time” that called for “enthusiasm” and innocence of hope (Esquivel 167-8). The description of her forming the squares also invokes her ‘touching’ upon the present situation that she is in. The shape itself symbolizes Tita being encased in a condition that deeply moves her psychologically. As Esquivel puts it, Tita feels as if she has locked herself into a state that reflects her fear of self-confidence. The fact that she still does not know how to express her knowledge of her pregnancy to Pedro also shows that she fears Rosaura’s response to Tita’s meddling with her husband; hence touch echoes Tita’s reproach for communication while simultaneously disclose her attitude towards Rosaura and Pedro: for Rosaura, Tita invokes a tinge of jealousy and resentment due to the fact that she has to deceive her sister in order to be with Pedro; for Pedro, he is featured as an embodiment of unattainable desire, Tita longs for him but fears him because he also represents her temptation to rebel and dishonor her family (recall how she is currently concerned with being pregnant and how she wonders how everyone is going to react to her disobedience). However, because touch reminds her of Pedro, Tita uses her cooking to communicate these attitudes towards Pedro and Rosaura. In a way, most of Tita’s meals tend to reach out and “touch” Pedro sensually, while at the same time, it “touches” Rosaura bitterly.

Flashbacks also illustrates Tita’s cynical attitude towards her family by reviving memories that not only evoke pain to her but also juxtaposes the longing to live her life as she had innocently imagined it in her childhood, before tradition negatively forced her away from individual expression. Because the passage gives rise to Tita’s state of depression, the ‘cheerful’ memories are concluded to be nostalgic. This notion is seen when Tita prepares for the Three Kings’ Day bread for the upcoming guests that evening; she reminisces her child-like anxieties when “her biggest worry then was that the Magi never brought her what she asked for, but instead what Mama Elena thought was best for her.” (Esquivel 167) The author here uses this memory to exemplify Tita’s submission to authority, via Mama Elena, who is Tita’s dominant oppressor due to the fact that in the end it is Mama Elena who will determine whether Titas’ wishes will be granted or not. The author also reveals Tita’s submission to her authoritative mother; for as Tita grew up accepting and conforming to Mama Elena’s will, her natural passion and imaginations are accepted only within the limits of the activities prescribed by the traditional feminine role that her mother has bestowed upon her. “While Tita was forming the squares, she [also] mourned for the Three Kings’ days of her childhood, when she didn’t have such serious problem.” (Esquivel 167) This also connotes one of Tita’s occurring situations with her family; for although Mama Elena has passed away, complications between Tita and Rosaura persist as they continue to “compete for the love of [Pedro]” (Esquivel 168). Tita fears that she has become pregnant as a result of her encounter with Pedro. She also fears John Brown’s response when she will have to cancel her engagement now that she is not a virgin. Not only does the remembrance of the Three Kings day bread remind Tita of her apparent dissatisfaction with her family members and loved ones, the traditional recipe also revives the loving care of Nacha and companionship of the disappeared Gertrudis while still maintaining the nostalgia of Tita’s attitude. “Those happy days when Nacha was with her,” (Esquivel 167) allows the reader to sympathize with Tita, who finds it difficult to cook the bread by herself, because she is mostly disheartened by her pregnant state as it deters her once positive relationships with her family. As her remorse is expressed by her thoughts from the King’s Day bread, her attitude towards her family is irrefutably unmistakable: for Pedro, her longing desire to be by his side is threatened by her inability to rebel outwardly to Mama Elena or to Rosaura, frustrating her because she is denied the right to be by her loved one; for Rosaura, Tita feels that she could never come to a peace treaty because of her submissiveness; and for Mama Elena, Tita simply cannot stand for her mother’s unfairness to suggest what would make her children satisfied. Therefore, this particular recipe suggests that her childhood memories reflect dejected attitudes towards her existing unease with her family.

For all of these reasons, Tita’s revelation of the Three King’s Day bread decisively promotes her despondent attitude towards her relationship with her family. By having Tita disclose her childhood experiences to reflect how she feels about her family members now, Esquivel creatively appeals to the use of evocative imagery and the narrative device of flashbacks to exhibit the theme of the importances of living life in the same light that the childhood innocence of the quote suggests. Through her varying attitudes towards certain family members, the theme correlates to the truth of Tita’s nature. Her recollection of the happiness she once shared with the Three King’s day bread finally reveals her true disposition: because she hasn’t been able to live up to her childhood dreams, Tita’s overall pessimism towards her family illustrates that her failure to defend herself from her present internal conflict causes her to live a life of lies and unhappiness.



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