In Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the female characters are presented in nontraditional ways for the times in which the novels are set. Each novel shows a clear distinction between the male and female characters, and it would make sense to feel a feminist vibe from the authors at certain points in the novels. In these novels, the female characters use the traditional distinction between gender roles to change the dynamics of their families and function within the novel.
Before discussing the change from identifying the characters’ traits as female to relating their actions more to a male identity, and vice versa, the relationships between the male and female characters must be explored…show more content… In contrast, the beginning of Like Water for Chocolate barely mentions men in leadership roles. Tita’s father, who remains unnamed throughout the novel, is dead. Because he is an unnamed dead man he foreshadows the insignificance of the men in this novel. He is honestly better off dead than being emasculated by Mama Elena, or even Tita later in the novel. The only other men mentioned in the first chapter are Pedro and his father. Their encounter with Mama Elena was demeaning in itself. They were denied Tita’s hand in marriage and manipulated by Mama Elena into marrying Pedro and Rosaura. Power in this novel is clearly, from the very beginning, in the hands of Mama Elena, a woman. Will that power remain with her up until her death or does Tita, by staying in her place cooking and nurturing, hold the power all along?
The structure of Like Water for Chocolate is permeated in feministic tendencies. The subtitle reads, “A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies.” Does that not ring with the familiarity of women’s magazines from the 1800’s and early 1900’s like Godey 's Lady 's Book and McCall’s Magazine? Women would use these magazines to keep up with current fashion trends and to connect and share ideas with women they otherwise would not know. Communication is a powerful tool. Although, the women were sharing recipes, clothing patterns, and stories, they were still making connections