Like Water For Chocolate Symbolism

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Each year, millions of people go to relationship counselors to work out the negative emotions in their relationships. Laura Esquivel explores this negativity in her book Like Water for Chocolate. The novel follows Tita, a woman whose life is riddled with complex relationships, both romantic and familial. Tita struggles to maintain healthy connections with her mother Elena and sister Rosaura. Pedro, who is both Tita’s lover and Rosaura’s husband, is the cause of much of the strain in these relationships. The relationships between all the characters are almost always filled with hostility, negativity, and pain. Laura Esquivel uses symbolism to comment on the toxicity that often arises in relationships that should be loving. In …show more content…

When Tita receives the roses, she grips them to her chest so tightly that she bleeds. The narrator illustrates, “Tita clasped the roses to her chest so tightly that when she got to the kitchen, the roses, which had been mostly pink, had turned quite red from the blood that was flowing from Tita’s hands and breasts” (48). Tita clutches the roses so closely to herself that the thorns draw blood, showing the intensity of her feelings for Pedro and the gift he gives her. Though her emotions are positive, her physical reaction causes her pain and injury. This physical pain is opposite of what Pedro’s love should make Tita feel. Another person who is hurt by Pedro’s gift is Rosaura, who feels humiliated that he gave roses to Tita and not to her. The narrator writes, “But Rosaura–who was expecting her first child–did not agree, and when she saw him walk in carrying a bouquet for Tita, instead of her, she burst into tears and ran from the room” (48). Because of his actions, Pedro ends up hurting not only Tita, but also Rosaura. Although they are not in love, Pedro and Rosaura’s marriage should still be founded on some level of respect. By bringing flowers to Tita and not to Rosaura, Pedro ignores and disrespects his own wife. This act causes Rosaura to feel hostility toward both Pedro and Tita. The roses show that both …show more content…

When Tita first returns to the ranch and makes ox-tail soup, Mama Elena refuses to eat it. The narrator relates, “…Mama Elena spit the soup on the bedspread and yelled to Tita to get the tray out of her sight immediately… ‘Because it is nasty and bitter…’” (130). Because of the bitterness in the soup, Mama Elena rejects a gesture of kindness from Tita, who is only trying to take care of her. This act shows that Mama Elena feels nothing but bitterness and dislike towards Tita instead of the love and appreciation that, as a mother, she should feel. These emotions are symbolized by the taste of the soup. After she tastes the soup, Mama Elena is convinced that Tita is putting something dangerous in her food. She thinks, “But now there couldn’t be any doubt that Tita intended to poison her slowly in order to marry Dr. Brown. From that day on, she absolutely refused to eat anything that Tita had cooked” (133). Mama Elena believes that Tita, her own daughter, is trying to kill her just so she can get married. Her ridiculous beliefs reveal that her feelings for Tita are past bitterness. Mama Elena despises Tita so much that she thinks Tita would do something so terrible as murder her. Mama Elena feels no motherly love for Tita, only loathing and malice. The bitterness in Mama Elena’s food shows that hostility can penetrate even the relationships that

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