Before you begin, however, please get some useful tips and hints about how to use PaperStarter. Consider one or more episode in which food is described in great detail, and use that passage to construct an argument about the importance of food in this novel.
The trajectory of their struggle against one another is the axis around which the entire novel turns. Tita, the protagonist, strives for love, freedom, and individuality, and Mama Elena, the chief antagonist, stands as the prime opposition to the fulfillment of these goals.
Mama Elena is the opposite of a nurturer, never forging any bond with Tita.
Tita develops a relationship with food that gives her the power to nurture and give outlet to her emotions. As with most literary pairings, Tita and Mama Elena share a central characteristic that defines both their individual struggles and their conflict with each other.
The reaction of each woman to her predicament helps delineate their differing characters. The structuring of Like Water for Chocolate as "A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies," as it is subtitled, establishes the filter through which the reader will experience the world of the novel.
Like Tita--whose knowledge of life is "based on the kitchen"-- the reader must explore the work through the role and power of food, guided by the recipes that begin each chapter.
This organization, along with the matter-of-fact weaving of recipes and remedies into the fabric of the narrative, underscores the fact that the novel offers substantial opportunities for feminist analysis.
In addition to serving as a central organizing principle, food is often a direct cause of physical and emotional unrest, and serves as a medium through which emotions can be transmitted. Tita prepares most of the food in the novel, and she uses food to express her emotions because her lowly cultural status affords her no other opportunity to do so.
These incidents suggest a simultaneous commodification and uncontrollability of emotion; food is a potent force in the world of the novel, and it lets Tita assert her identity.
Images of heat and fire permeate the novel as expressions of intense emotion. Because heat is the catalyst that causes food to undergo chemical change, substantial waves of it are present at many of the moments when food is being prepared.
However, the heat of emotions, cannot be so controlled. Heat is a symbol for desire and physical love throughout the text: These uses of fire point toward a duality in its symbolism, as a source of strength and a force of destruction. The coupling of death and desire that occurs when the love between Tita and Pedro is freed epitomizes this duality.
In Like Water for Chocolate, Esquivel extends the religious-mythical themes of magic realism to the everyday world of the domestic realm of a female-dominated household. Though not a story of the battles, great figures, and moral challenges generally associated with the epic form, Esquivel elevates this story of women, and one woman in particular, to such proportions.
In creating this female-centered cast of characters, Esquivel imagines a world in which men are physically present only occasionally, though the legacy of sexism and the confinement of women to the domestic sphere persist.
Esquivel does not offer her readers the vision of a utopian sisterhood, but rather insight into the way women are restricted by standards of societal propriety perpetuated by other women.The best study guide to Like Water for Chocolate on the planet, from the creators of SparkNotes. Get the summaries, analysis, and quotes you need.
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