Like Water for Chocolate is Laura Esquivel’s original romantic love story and is often dubbed as the “Mexican Romeo and Juliet. ” In just 246 pages, Esquivel created a breathtaking work of art, strategically incorporating love, desire, nurture, and feminism. Like Water for Chocolate is famously known for its magical realism. Esquivel uses magical realism to justify the perception of the novel and to make extraordinary concepts seem normal. It is basically the glue that holds the book together. The novel’s magical realism, helps define lust by incorporating the element of fire and imagery.
By adding magical elements into the day-to-day life, readers can critically analyze the characters in order to understand their thoughts and actions. As the youngest daughter of the de la Garza’s family, Tita was born to live a loveless, celibate life until her mother’s death. Tita grew up under the iron fist of Mama Elena and thus accepted her fate. However, all of this changes once Tita saw Pedro for the first time. The sparkling eye contact between Tita and Pedro changed both of their lives forever. When Pedro asked for Tita’s hand in marriage, Mama Elena stubbornly refused and offered her oldest daughter, Rosaura, instead.
Pedro reluctantly agreed, because this would bring him closer to Tita. Just like that Tita’s worst nightmare became her reality. Even worse than being apart with her lover is seeing him with another woman. Even though Pedro conceived a son with Rosaura out of duty, his heart remained with Tita. However, faced with opposition, the love-struck pair could not openly declare their love for one another. Drinking a cold beverage when one is thirsty is much more satisfying than when he or she is not. (Anderson 76) Likewise, being denied of love, Tita’s and Pedro’s desires and lust intensified as the days goes on.
As the days went by, Tita grew more and more doubtful of Pedro’s sworn love for her. Pedro’s bouquet of rose reassured her soul, unfortunately this made Mama Elena and Rosaura very agitated. Tita could not forced herself to throw away Pedro’s token of love so she decided to make a dish out of it. In this novel, food is one of the strongest form of communication and is another example of magical realism. Tita has the ability to transfer her emotions into her recipes and make the consumer feel her sentiments.
Tita’s intense feelings and desire for Pedro is submerged into the quail dish, however the emotions did not go directly through Pedro. Tita’s second sister, Gertrudis, became the medium for this forbidden love. The dish was an aphrodisiac, creating unquenchable thirst for sexual desires. The feelings filled Gertrudis’s body with lust and passion. In order to get rid of the zealous ardor that’s taking over her body, Gertrudis ran to the shower. As a result of the overwhelming body heat, the water in the tank to evaporated and exploded.
A soldier, with the name of Juan, instinctively came to her rescue and the two made love on the galloping horse. The magical realism in this episode clearly demonstrates Tita’s and Pedro’s sexual attractions to one another and Gertrudis ended up becoming the medium of exchange. While Tita’s fiance, John, was away, Tita lost her virginity to Pedro. After all these years, Tita finally consummated her love for Pedro. However, this blessing quickly became a curse when Tita started experiencing signs of pregnancy and her dead mother came back to haunt her. Mama Elena’s recurrent visits caused Tita to be anxious and frighten.
Her mother forced her to go far away from the house and this was the last straw to Tita’s patience and respect for her mother. With the seven words, “I hate you, I’ve always hated you! “, Tita expelled her mother’s ghost. Soon afterwards, Tita’s menstrual fluid rapidly escaped her body and just as her swollen belly alleviated, Mama Elena’s spirit turned into a fireball. The angry fireball aimed its trajectory at Pedro and in just a few seconds, Pedro’s body was set on fire. The magical realism in this incident uses fire to illustrate Mama Elena’s rage after she found out about Tita’s so called “adulterous affair with her brother-in-law.
In the final chapter of Like Water for Chocolate, Tita and Pedro can fianlly openly declare their love for each other. With Mama Elena and Rosaura dead and Pedro’s daughter’s marriage, there are no more obstacles to this Romeo and Juliet’s love story. After Pedro proposed to Tita, the two made love for the first time without worrying about the public’s opinions. While Tita and Pedro were deeply entranced, Tita suddenly had a flashback of what John’s words to her. John explained that each person has a set of matches inside of him or her.
These matches cannot be set off by its owner and must be ignited by another thing or person. A person must only light one matches at a time and protect his or her own matches. After all the matches are lit, he or she will see a tunnel of light which symbolizes death. Remembering John’s words, Tita quickly calmed her breathing and escaped the tunnel of death. Pedro, on the other hand, did not. As his heartbeat accelerates, Pedro enters the tunnel of light and died at the height of climax. After this revelation, Tita was heartbroken and desperate. Without Pedro, Tita’s life has no more meaning.
After hiding their love for nearly twenty-two years, the love of her life died. In order to once again spark the flame inside of her, Tita began to eat, one by one, the matches that John has given her. As she eats each match, a memory of her and Pedro surfaced. She thought about the first time they met, the first kiss, first touch, and first time making love. The dim light finally caught Tita’s sight and the closer she gets, the brighter it shines. At the end of the tunnel is Pedro, waiting for her. As the two reconcile spiritually, the fire from Tita’s body consumed Pedro’s as well as the entire ranch.