Depiction Of Family Traditions And Relationships In Like Water For Chocolate

The novel, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, is a spanish love story where love is put at risk and torn apart by family tradition. Mama Elena is the reason for most of this heartbreak and sadness which is inflicted onto her daughters in various ways. Esquivel uses characters such as Tita, Nancha, Rosaura and Pedro to generate love, lust, pain and heartbreak throughout the novel. Family traditions is a major aspect of what this book is based on and it's themes. Using family traditions Esquivel is able to generate symbols as well when incorporating characters. Symbols such as heat and fire follow along in relationships throughout the novel. These different traditions and relationships in the book bring up positive and negative aspects in which we see different sides to out characters and out author. Esquivel uses relationships because it shows how a slight difference in a relationship can affect on person or another. For example Tita’s relationship with her mother, mama elena chose what tita’s future was going to be. Tita wasn't happy with that and wanted change, overall causing a chain reaction through the family. In the novel Like Water for Chocolate, Esquivel is able to explore and show us different family traditions and relationships. Through the use of the rule of marriage, cooking and family relations between mama and the children, Esquirel is able to show us the positive and the negative aspects of all.

Tita, the youngest daughter, must never marry and is designated as the mother's caretaker for life. This is one way that Esquivel is able to show us the positive and negative aspects and the exploration of family traditions. Throughout the book Tita is constantly mad at Mama Elena for all the things that she has done to her, but this is the most effective example. This is one of the family traditions and it really gets under Tita’s skin. Tita is in love with a character, Pedro, but Mama refuses to let her marry because of this tradition, 'You know perfectly well that being the youngest daughter means you have to take care of me until the day I die.' and Tita doesn't see this as fair. Tita is angered by this turns it into hatred and it begins the long last hate for Mama. Pedro and his feelings towards Tita are very real and it causes him to marry his sister just so that he can be closer to her. This poses a negative effect on the family the book and causes many complications. For example when Pedro marry Rosaura they “loved” each other very much and had a child, but Rosaura was not able to produce milk for this baby. Tita has no choice but to nurture and feed this baby and Mama wasn't happy about it. She send away Pedro and Rosaura to get away from the farm and the baby ends up dying. Tita doesn't forgive Mama for this and the hatred grows stronger. This tradition for Tita seems to be the end of the world and it really doesn't pose any type of positivity throughout the book. Tita questions the traditions, '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'. Mama is so firm onto this belief that she doesn't care about how her daughter feels or what she wants. She is using this power that she has and throughout the novel it continues to grow and grow. Throughout this novel the impact of this family tradition ruins titas life and cause problems for not just her but her family as well and overall could be argued that leads to her death. If Mama allowed Tita to follow what she wanted and be happy in life then she may not have died the way she did loving Pedro in secrete. This tradition tore Tita away from the family and changed her actions in life and how she took on the world.

Cooking and the kitchen is a major part of this book and it is also a major part of their family tradition. From the beginning of the book we get an insight on how important the kitchen is to their family. Cooking is something that bonds the family and creates this sense of love in the book. The love for cooking is shared throughout the family from Mama Elena to the youngest Tita. Tita herself is portrayed cooking a lot in the book and even has her own way to stop crying when cutting onions, “As usual, tita was crying as she chopped onion. The tears clouding her vision so completely that before she realized it she cut her finger with the knife”. To stop herself from crying she just puts a slice of onion on top of her head. Onions play a role in this book as well, they symbolize sadness. Whenever there is onions there is tears and sadness to follow. Outside the kitchen there isn't much of a life for Tita. She follows the demanding orders that Mama sets for her and her sisters. Life is for the family full of cooking, cleaning, sewing, and prayer. This routine is interrupted one day by Tita's love, Pedro, who would like to come see her and talk of marriage. Mama Elena isn't happy with this and believes that tradition shouldn't be broke and Tita must be the caretaker. She gives into Mama Elena's wishes, but privately she questions the family tradition and maintains her feelings for Pedro. With all of this in place Tita is forced to be in the kitchen and cook for the family. Tita’s whole life has been in the kitchen, she was born in the kitchen on the table that they still eat at, “It wasn't easy for a person whose knowledge was based on the kitchen to comprehend the outside world.” She wasn't easily acclimated to the outside world and it's challenges. The kitchen does pose positive aspects of the novel, it takes it course from birth to death. It is what the book focuses heavily on and we see how important it is to the family. 

Throughout the book we see various meals cooked and we get a better perspective on how they live life. Each chapter in the novel starts off with a recipe for something that Tita is going to make in the chapter. Esquivel is able to use these cooking experiences to show the change in the characters lives and express different truths about them as the book progresses. Tita finds freedom and is able to express herself through her relationship with food. The kitchen is the only thing that truly belongs to Tita and makes her free. She feels the most powerful and free in the kitchen without the threat of Mama Elena’s cruelty. Tita loves exploring different types of foods. Nancha is a big part of Tita’s life in the kitchen, Nancha is the cook for the family. When Nacha dies after Pedro and Rosaura’s wedding, Tita becomes the cook. The kitchen for her even after Nanchas death is a place of escape and happiness away from Mama and it poses one of the few positive aspects of her life up until her death.

16 December 2021
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