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Food as a Metaphor for Unexpressed Emotions in Like Water for Chocolate

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Food as a Metaphor for Unexpressed Emotions in Like Water for Chocolate

An oppressed soul finds means to escape through the preparation of food in the novel, Like Water for Chocolate (1992). Written by Laura Esquivel, the story is set in revolutionary Mexico at the turn of the century. Tita, the young heroine, is living on her family’s ranch with her two older sisters, her overbearing mother, and Nacha, the family cook and Tita’s surrogate mother. At a very young age, Tita is instilled with a deep love for food "for Tita, the joy of living was wrapped up in the delights of food" (7). The sudden death of Tita's father, left Tita's mother's unable to nurse the infant Tita due to shock and grief. Therefore Nacha, "who [knows]
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Pedro does become engaged to Rosaura, because, as he tells his father when they are leaving the ranch, "When you're told there's no way you can marry the woman you love and your only hope of being near to her is to marry her sister, wouldn't you do the same?" (15). It is during Pedro and Rosaura's wedding reception that Tita's feelings first become apparent through the magic of her cooking.

Mama Elena, sensing Tita's reluctance to participate in her sister's upcoming wedding, warns her, "I won't stand for disobedience... nor am I going to allow you to ruin your sister's wedding, with you acting like the victim. You're in charge of all the preparations starting now, and don't ever let me catch you with a single tear or even a long face, do you hear?" (27). At the wedding party the following day, although Tita keeps a perfectly calm demeanor, her true feelings about her sister's marriage to Pedro are revealed in the guests' first bite of the Chabela wedding cake. "The moment [the guests] took their first bite of the cake, everyone was flooded with a great wave of longing... [T]he weeping was just the first symptom of a strange intoxication that seized the guests" (39), all but Tita, on whom the cake had no effect. The author uses the cake's effect on the guests to reveal first, Tita's grief over her loss of love through the guests uncontrollable weeping and second, her disgust over her sister and Pedro's
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