Professor Cheryl Cardiff
ENG 230 Magic in Realism
In the traditional Latin America, especially during the early twentieth century, a woman’s place was in the home. Every woman born into this culture was expected to serve their fathers and brothers, up until they were old enough to be married, and at that time, was expected to serve their husbands and children. These women, who felt as if they were prisoners of the expectations that the patriarchal society put upon them, would find freedom in creativity with cooking, crafts, and used storytelling, gossip, and advice as an outlet of their frustrations. They created their own sub-culture within the oppressive worl in which they lived. That being said, Laura Esquivel’s novel, “Like Water for Chocolate,” can be seen as a protest against the oppression of women in Latin America. Esquivel uses Tita’s growth and development into womanhood to portray how she eventually broke free from the stereotypical life of a woman in Latin America. To understand this idea, we can first examine the choices that Esquivel made for the structure of her novel and the significance of differences in the characters.
At first glance, the reader will notice the title, “Like Water for Chocolate.” Esquivel chose this title for significant reasons. In many parts of Latin America, water is used to make a hot chocolate beverage instead of milk. The water used for chocolate is extremely hot, almost to a boiling point. According to Maria Elena de Valdes, the idea of “water at the boiling point” is meant to “describe any event or relationship that is so tense, hot, and extraordinary that it can only be compared to scalding water on the verge of boiling, as called for in the preparation of that most Mexican of all beverages, dating from at least the thirteenth century: hot chocolate.” (de Valdes) de Valdes makes this point to describe Tita’s relationship with her mother and her attitude toward the oppressive way...