The Paradox of Confinement and Freedom in a Doll's House and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

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In the texts, A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, Nora Helmer and Tita (Josefita) are subject to the paradox of confinement and freedom. Tita is restricted to the ranch and kitchen, and Nora to the house. Concurrently, in the seclusion of the kitchen, Tita is liberated from Mama Elena's control, has freedom of self-expression through cooking, and can openly express her feelings. Josefita is a skilled cook with mystical abilities, and also has some freedom and control in the household. Both characters are victims of role-play. Tita has the role of housewife and Nora is a mother, wife, and dependent. Nora finds freedom in her debt, which gives her a sense of authority and control. The…show more content…
Her seclusion due to the family "curse" and domination by Mama Elena is responsible for slowing the development of her identity. When freed from the ranch by John Brown, Josefita's hands are symbolic of her lack of identity. Esquivel demonstrates this point very clearly using the symbolism of Tita's hands, as shown in the following quotation, ‘At her mother's, what she had to do with her hands was strictly determined, no questions asked.' (Esquivel p98) and ‘, seeing her hands no longer at her mother's command, she didn't know what to ask them to do, she had never decided for herself before.'(Esquivel p99). The household is a microcosm of the outside Mexican Revolution. Tita is a rebellious soladera, and Mama Elena is her ‘upper-class' oppressor that limits her status. Both are constantly in conflict, challenging each other's authority. Tita controls the food, which, through smell, shape, taste and colour provokes emotions, such as lust, sickness, pregnancy and motherhood. With this position, she is linked to everyone else's lives and has certain ‘powers'. The recipes are more than just formulas, buried within them are memories (Mackenzie E. Dennard). In Like Water for Chocolate, magic realism takes the shape of the power that Tita's recipes have for magically communicating her feelings and passions (Dr Wally Woods). For instance, her dish of Quails in Rose Petal Sauce

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