How Is Family Honor Portrayed in the Novels Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Marquez and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel?

1723 WordsFeb 28, 20127 Pages
How is family honor portrayed in the novels Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Marquez and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel? Honor can be perceived in different ways – to some it may be the integrity of their beliefs, while to others it may be a source of dignity and social distinction. In the context of Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Like Water for Chocolate, which are both set in Latin American cultures, the adherence to family honor and values are viewed as one of the highest moral obligations. Events and characters in both novels revolve around the notion of fulfilling the expectations brought on by the honor of family traditions. This idea of honor and its excessive bearing on morality is a questionable concept…show more content…
In both novels, marriage is seen by society as an obligation of honor rather than an act of love. This is illustrated in Like Water for Chocolate when, after announcing that “it was impossible for Tita to marry” [Esquivel, pg. 13], Mama Elena stated, “let me suggest my daughter Rosaura… She is one hundred percent available, and ready for marriage” [Esquivel, pg. 13]. The ease in which Mama Elena was able to “suggest” Rosaura for marriage without even conferring with either of the daughters, along with the italicized “She”, implies that she has complete control over whether and whom their daughters would marry. This implication portrays marriage as a tool at Mama Elena’s disposal. Furthermore, the context in which she uses the word “ready” shows that marriage is viewed as a duty which one prepares for, similar to any household chore, this is even illustrated by the characters within the novel when Chencha exclaimed “Your ma talks about being ready for marriage like she was dishing up a plate of enchiladas!” [Esquivel, pg. 14]. Similarly in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, the Vicario sisters are described as “better-reared” and “perfect” [Esquivel, pg. 31] - referring to their piety and ability to provide for a family. The narrator ironically claimed, “The brother’s were brought up to be men. The daughters were brought up to be married” – the blatant tone of this
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