Like Water For Chocolate By Laura Esquivel

450 words, 2 pages

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Like Water for Chocolate—a novel rich in history, culture, food, and scandal; a breathtaking portrayal of a love affair, of the strength of character of desperate women, and of humbling traditions—captivates both the soul and mind, enchanting its readers by way of causing them to become immersed in its story-line. Prominent among its themes is that of finding an identity—or a lack thereof—which seems to pervade the lives of those most engaged in the process of self evaluation and discovery, and as such Laura Esquivel’s novel is comparable to Haruki Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes, in which the characters from several stories seem to be in a state of perpetual dislocation and disconnection from the world around them. Tita in Esquivel’s novel, best portrays this struggle of gaining personal identity and freedom amidst repressive, external forces, while specific characters from stories in Murakami’s collection such as “Sleep”, “The Wind-Up Bird and Tuesday’s Women”, or “A Slow Boat to China”, reflect a struggle that arises instead from both external and internal forces. Particularly important however, is Esquivel and Murakami’s contrasting approach to addressing the theme—be it through symbolism, language or characterization—that requires close critique.

In Like Water for Chocolate, Tita De la Garza’s principle struggle steams from the fact that she has little control over her affairs. From the day she was born, her fate was already sealed, and she would be expected to acknowledge tradition. Her life was not hers to live, for Mama Elena—her mother—dictated everything that she did, for whose house was it if not Mama Elena’s, who made it clear that “in the De La Garza family, one obeyed—immediately” (Esquivel 12). The...

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...o remember things well as if there was a hole in his memory; as in “…no matter how I rack my brains, I can’t place her voice” (Murakami 13). Instead of using indirect objects such as food, or bedspread—as Esquivel doe View More »

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