The Role Of The Mother In Like Water For Chocolate

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All life stems from the mother. This is one of the indisputable facts of life and it ties all of humanity together. Adrienne Rich has said that women “are assigned almost total responsibility for children” and that humanity learns about “love and disappointment, power and tenderness” through the mother (xi). Because the mother’s role is so important to the cycle of life, every religion and society from the Western to the Eastern hemisphere has developed an idealized version of the mother. The standard belief is this: the ideal mother is a woman who sacrifices all she has for her children while also allowing them enough space to be independent. She is unselfish, never complains, always looks put together, dedicates her life to her children, never yells or shows anger, and most certainly never puts a career above her children or her husband.…show more content…
They are told from the beginning that if they do not conform to the standards of society, they have failed as a mother, yet the underlying truth remains — there is no ideal mother. The mothers in Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and “Breast-Giver” by Mahasweta Devi represent women who, after being repressed by society, are depicted as antagonists and unideal mother figures. By attempting to break out of the gender constructs that hold them captive, they are depicted in a less than friendly light as they begin to bridge the gap between the feminine and masculine roles. After they have become an almost “masculinized woman,” they seemingly fail to perform the roles of an ideal mother according to society’s expectations and in turn, they fail their
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