The Relationship Between Fiction And History In Like Water For Chocolate

Historical events can influence the thematic approaches that writers adopt in developing their fictional stories. This strategy empowers creators to enhance the depth of their literal content. Laura Esquivel has used historical events as a guide in writing her book titled Like Water for Chocolate. The book’s thematic approach has followed the events of the Mexican revolution, which enhances the depth of her story.

Like Water for Chocolate is a book that details a family that experiences inner arguments and misfortunes. Tita, who is the protagonist in the book is prevented from marrying Pedro, who is the love of her life. Instead, Mama Elena, the matriarch of the family, forces Pedro to wed Rosaura, her middle daughter. This marriage arrangement unpleasantly affects all the people involved in the De La Graza family. Tita has to live a life of resentment and dissatisfaction. Rosaura accepts her fate but understands that the love between her husband and sister will always be a threat. The birth of her son Roberto presented an opportunity for the two to rekindle their relationship. Tita’s coping mechanism entailed developing the mythical power of preparing meals that reflected her emotions. Those who consumed her food temporarily experienced her feelings when she was cooking. Rosaura’s death offered an opportunity for Tita and Pedro to rekindle their passion and love, which contributed to their ultimate death. Therefore, the book features the central disagreements and unfortunate fate of some influential members of the family.

The relationship between Tita and her mother resembled that between the Mexican people and their dictatorial rulers. Mama Elena, the matriarch of the family, adopted an authoritative leadership approach. This commanding and strict approach adversely affects the relationship with her children. The lack of an ideal relationship between Mama Elena and her daughters contributed to resistance in the family. This situation resembles the environment in Mexico prior to the revolution. Dictatorial leaders were out of touch with the people, which contributed to tensions in the country. Political resistance started to build following the lack of collaboration between the government and its people. The rebellion occurred as a means to change the living environment for the citizens. Tita’s conflict with her mother resulted from her inappropriate parenting. The eventual rebellion empowered Tita to improve the quality of her living environment. Thus, there is a correlation between a fictional account and historical events.

Moreover, both the Mexican government and Mama Elena had good intentions for their people, which contributed to ineffective management of their respective situations. The need to protect her family inspired Mama Elena’s decision to prevent the marriage between Tita and Pedro (Esquivel 12). Tita was destined to provide care to her mother. Her marriage to Pedro would have inhibited the realization of this destiny. Mama Elena’s solution entailed marrying-off her second daughter to Pedro. While inspired by positive intentions, this decision amplified the conflict among members of the family. The nature of the Mexican revolution followed a similar direction. The Mexican leaders had aimed at improving the social and economic environment for citizens. The government wanted the country to achieve prosperity. However, the authoritative leadership approach prevented the realization of this goal. The lack of collaboration was a significant impediment for the country’s continued prosperity. Thus, there is some similarity between the De La Garza family and the Mexican government’s intention prior to the escalation of their respective situations.

The role that Tita played in her family is similar to Madero’s contribution to the Mexican revolution. Tita instigated the resistance of her mother’s rule in the De La Garza family. Similarly, Madero contributed to the rise in political tensions that led to the Mexican revolution (Buchenau 186). In both situations, these protagonists inspired a change in living environments. Tita would not have consummated her relationship with Pedro had she accepted the situation. Madero would not have inspired the Mexican revolution had she not campaigned for the support of the people. Both these characters were brazen in fighting for their rights. In the end, both Tita and Madero achieved their goals of improving the quality of their lives. Tita finally wed Pedro, and Madero managed to inspire political changes in the country. Thus, Esquivel may have found motivation for Tita’s character by analyzing Madero’s political contribution to Mexico.

Freedom was the ultimate goal for both the De L Garza family and the Mexican people, which confirms the link between fiction and history. Tita experienced challenges when rebelling against her mother. Madero was imprisoned for his attempts to inspire political change in Mexico. Both these characters experienced emotional and physical pain in the quest to achieve their respective goals. However, the younger members of the De La Garza family enjoyed the fruits of Tita’s efforts. The situation is similar to Mexico as future generations benefitted from Madero’s political efforts. For instance, Esperanza, who was Rosaura’s daughter, is freed from the obligation of taking care of her parents during their old age. Similarly, the new generation of Mexican citizens benefits from the civil liberties that were developed following the Mexican revolution. Esquivel may have used history to inform her thematic approach in creating Like Water for Chocolate.

Furthermore, the De La Garza family and the Mexican revolution demonstrate the link between suffering and happy endings. Various members of the De La Garza family had to die for the younger members to experienced freedom from traditions and obligations. Many people died during the Mexican revolution to ensure new generations did not experience political repression by leaders. Present generations had to experience suffering to create a better future for the upcoming generations. Thus, the association between pain and happy endings is evident.

In summary, Esquivel’s book demonstrates the association between fiction and history. The experiences and eventual fate of the De La Garza family followed the Mexican revolution. Madero’s role in the Mexican revolution was similar to Tita’s contribution to the improvement in the quality of life for the younger members of her family. Esquivel’s thematic approach followed the events of the Mexican revolution. Thus, there is an evident connection between fictional narrative and historical events.

Works Cited

  • Buchenau, Jürgen. 'The Mexican Revolution at its Centennial.' Latin American Research Review, vol. 48, no. 2, 2013, pp. 184-192.
  • Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Hot Chocolate. London, England: Doubleday, 1993. Print.
16 December 2021
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