“Like Water for Chocolate”, is a creative story intermixed with romance, sex, war and homemade recipes. When Tita De la Garza’ s hopes of marrying her one true love, Pedro, are crushed by her obligation to take care of her mother, Mama Elena, for the rest of her life, her heartfelt emotions have been transmitted through the delicious meals she cooks for her family and friends. Everyone who eats her meals experiences the same love, anger or sorrow that Tita felt while cooking her meals.
Tita’ s forbidden love with Pedro begins the many challenges the De la Garza family faces. Each separate character struggles to overcome the challenges and betrayals of marriage, the bindings of tradition, and the search for one’ s inner self. Each month presents a new, unpredictable story accompanied by a De la Garza family recipe for dinner, love, and common ailments such as burns and bad breath. Through each separate story and character, Laura Esquivel, the author of the novel, effectively conveys the importance of following one’ s heart in order to achieve happiness.
Tita follows her mother’ s wishes instead and remains despondent for the greater part of her life. Each character’ s personal struggle exemplifies the innermost defects and weaknesses felt in all of us. The conquering of these struggles to reach our desires often comes from breaking traditions, breaking bonds, and breaking hearts. Esquivel uses clever fictional elements to exaggerate the feelings of each character, such as when Gertrudis, Tita’ s sister, rides off naked with a revolutionary soldier and doesn’ t return for years.
Her exaggerations allow the reader to experience the personal feelings of each character, observing their challenges and predicting their decisions. Esquivel’ s novel is simple and entertaining to read. Although it’ s a romance story filled with unrealistic events, predicting the outcome of Tita and Pedro’ s struggle for their love allows the reader to become involved in each character’ s life. The fictional elements, however, exaggerate the innermost feelings that each character experiences.
The reader can actually feel the resentment and hatred that Tita has for Mama Elena and the torture Pedro endures while trying to stay close to Tita. The fact that Tita’ s guests experience her feelings through their food, adds a creative element to the novel. Although it’ s highly improbable, Tita’ s feelings become magnified since they’ re felt by numerous people rather than a single person. At first the De la Garza’ s recipes and preparations seem out of place, but the further one reads into the book, it becomes apparent how important the recipes are and the creative touch they add.
All feelings and events in the story are related to food. When Tita feels lonely, she relates her situation to the last pepper will remain untouched because no one wants to feel selfish, taking it for themselves. “Like Water for Chocolate”, stresses the importance of following your heart and discovering your inner self. Esquivel wrote about the importance of choosing your own paths, even if they aren’ t necessarily the best ones.
It’ s unavoidable to discover the right choices in life without making wrong ones first. The surprising final chapter of Esquivel’ s novel brings a sense of conclusion to the problems that the characters deal with throughout the entire book. The closing chapter explicates the realization that in order to achieve happiness, traditions and hearts sometimes have to be broken. As a bystander to the character’ s lives, it’ s obvious which choices they should make to find the utmost happiness and resolution.