Mama Elena Patriarchy

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Like Water For Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel, is set during the Mexican revolution where men and women experienced several struggles. The horrendous conflict, however, somewhat improved the lives for women in Mexico as they were able to work which is not . Yet, the patriarchy was still quite vast as women were expected to fit in a certain stereotype. Nonetheless, Tita’s mother, Mama Elena rejects the stereotypical role as she is a fierce, domineering, and fearless woman who expresses her tyrannical personality throughout the book. For these reasons, Mama Elena completely disregards the patriarchal society and rejects the stereotypical role of women.

The death of Tita’s father causes Mama Elena to take on the role of her husband on the ranch.
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He’ll be wasting his time and mine too…..” (Pg.10) Mama Elena refuses Tita’s pleads, and it is clearly evident that Mama Elena does not fit into the stereotypical role. In fact, after Pedro arrives at the ranch, he asks Mama Elena for Tita’s hand in marriage. Generally, the suitor would ask the father or the male figure, however, the absence of Tita’s father allows Mama Elena to make decisions. The author depicts the masculine traits within Mama Elena as a way to show that not all women fit into the typical stereotypical role. Although the author portrays Mama Elena as a domineering, and fierce woman, there are several underlying reasons for this. Firstly, it could be to bring more stability to the ranch. It could also be a strategy for Mama Elena to survive during the Mexican revolution. The revolutionaries, known for robbing and raping women, arrive at the ranch and Mama Elena is quick to take action. She is outside the door, with her shotgun, and orders them to stay out her house. Even when the Sergeant tries to enter her house, Mama Elena fires her gun and kills a chicken. After, she threatens the captains…show more content…
Her lack of motherly urge to actually care and console her daughters prove that she plays a masculine role on the ranch. In fact, after Mama Elena, and Tita hear the news about the death of Roberto, Tita begins to cry but is immediately told to stop by Mama Elena. She says: “Sit down and get back to work. I don’t want any tears…..First work, then do as you please, expect crying, do you hear?” (Pg.99) Regardless, Tita still ends up crying, but, Mama Elena does not shed a single tear. This clearly expresses her role on the ranch and her masculine characteristics are easily visible. After Mama Elena orders Tita to stop crying, Tita is in a frenzy of rage and screams at her mother. In response to Tita’s outburst, Mama Elena smashes a wooden spoon across her face. Violence is usually not a trait that fits with the female ideal in Mexico, but tunes in with more of masculinity as only men were expected to be aggressive. Mama Elena’s confident attitude, and fierce look is what causes fear in the Captain. Without a man on the ranch, Mama Elena has taken on a great responsibility. This causes her to neglect the stereotypical role of a woman, and she is represented as a dominant figure on the ranch despite of the patriarchy. An example of this is when the priests suggests to Mama Elena that there should be a man on the
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