Like Water for Chocolate: A Romantic Adventure in Latin American Literature
Steamy hookups, passionate kisses, warm embraces; all signs and symptoms of one thing: Love. Love through literature can be an amazing, or bumpy, ride. And you never know what’s around the corner. The novel Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel shapes a literary adventure of passion and romance through quests of love, betrayal, and questions.
Mirroring the drama of a soap opera, Tita, Pedro, and John are faced with these dilemmas. Love. Life’s biggest mystery. Everybody wants it, and everybody is clueless. We may know what we’re doing, but most of us don’t. Pedro Muzquiz thinks he knows what he’s doing with Tita De la Garza, in the book.
“Without answering, Pedro went to her, extinguished the lamp, pulled to her a brass bed that once belonged to her sister Gertrudis, and throwing himself upon her, caused her to lose her virginity and learn of true love” (Esquivel, 159). And their love doesn’t stop there, several years down the road, their flame is reignited, like the first time all over again. “Pedro placed Tita on the bed and slowly removed her clothing, piece by piece. After caressing each other, gazing at each other with infinite passion, they released the passion that had been contained for so many years” (243). Although, what’s soap operatic love without betrayal? Tita experiences a feeling of betrayal by her sweetheart Pedro, in Like Water for Chocolate, when he marries Tita’s sister Rosaura De la Garza.
“And now she had to give him up. It wasn’t decent to desire your sister’s husband” (19). Lovers’ flames are always faltered and at risk of being put out by situations, like this, of deception. When your sweetheart marries your sister, you generally want nothing to do with them, and don’t care what they have to say. “‘You have to let me say a few words.
..’ ‘I let you do that once, and all I got was lies. I don’t want to hear anymore'” (32). Tita definitely didn’t want an explanation from Pedro, no matter how much she still loves him. With Tita’s loss of Pedro as her sweetheart, she felt alone and nearly went insane.
So her mother, Mama Elena, called the village doctor, Dr. John Brown, to take Tita away to an asylum. Tita and Dr. Brown had met once before, when Tita’s nephew Roberto was born. Dr.
Brown instantly felt an attraction to Tita, and was pleased to take her away form the ranch. He tool her, though, to his house, and not an asylum. During their time together, Tita and John grew closer. When the time came for Tita to return to the ranch, John informed Mama Elena that he intended to one day ask for Tita’s hand in marriage. Mama Elena irately clarified to John that Tita must care for her until her death.
But when Mama Elena finally did die, it wasn’t as easy as Tita always thought it’d be. She always imagined she’d be with Pedro, after her mother died, but it was more involved than that with John around. She had a choice: John or Pedro? Love always had it’s hidden questions, and their unique ways of presenting themselves. “Of course she knew. Of course she was going to take that into account when she made her decision, that crucial decision that would determine her whole future” (224).
After spending time away from the ranch, away form Pedro, and most importantly, Mama Elena, Tita grew closer to Dr. John Brown, the doctor who took her in, after her mother sent her away when she had a mental breakdown, mourning her late nephew and his infantile passing. Dr. John took her into his home to save her mental well-being by not sending her to an insane asylum. Whilst living together, John teaches Tita and old tale his grandmother told him.
She told him that each person is born with a box of matches inside them, and each time one is lit, a pleasant warmth grows within, dazzling us by intense emotion. But if we stay too long or too close to someone with frigid breath, that can extinguish the matches and make them damp. Tita pondered about who lit her matches. She knew Pedro could ignite them, with Mama Elena shortly smothering them. And John, also, could light her matches and keep her from Mama Elena’s frigid breath.
“She had to find someone who could kindle her desire. Could that someone be John?” (118). Tita leans on John and chooses him, but Pedro is unhappy with her choice. And Tita, herself, is still unsure if it is the right choice. John soon realizes something is wrong; “He embraced her warmly, but when he kissed her, he knew something had changed inside of Tita” (203). When Tita suggests they call off the wedding, John makes the immense discovery.
“‘Don’t you love me anymore?’ ‘I don’t know.’ … ‘Are you more in love with him or with me?’ ‘I can’t answer that, I just don’t know.
When you aren’t here, I think he is the one I love, but when I see you, everything changes. Near you I feel calm, settled, at peace…. But I don’t know, I don’t know.
. ‘What you’ve told me hasn’t changed the way I think; I’ll say again, I would be delighted to be your companion for the rest of your life—but you must think over very carefully whether I am the man for you or not'” (222-223). After much contemplation, twenty-two years of it, Tita makes her choice: Pedro Muzquiz. A true fairy tale ending. After trials of love, loss, lust, and doubtfulness, the novel Like Water for Chocolateby Laura Esquivel elaborated and demonstrates the passion of romance, and the surprises that come along with it. Perfectly shaped in itself through a literary adventure of passion and romance through quests of love, betrayal, and questions.
All have surpassed each tribulation, and lovers can finally join and be one.