Short on time?

Get essay writing help

Essay on 'Like Water for Chocolate' Metaphors

Words: 2653
Pages: 6
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

American attorney Michael Josephson once remarkably proclaimed, “Don’t let others define you. Don’t let the past confine you. Take charge of your life with confidence and determination and there are no limits on what you can do or be.” Everyone is pretentious, everyone is competitive, and everyone has intentions. We live in a society that is a dog-eat-dog world or also known as every man for themselves. Mr. Josephson suggested, that people should advocate for themselves as no one else will and that it can be tempting to please everyone and do what everyone wants but then we will only be fooling ourselves. In addition, I can conduct from this quote that “other people’s perception of us is none of your business” and “everything we have been through, rose through, cried though, everything is a set-up for the next best season” so we should not let other people label us as one would be giving the power to them to dictate where your path will lead. Along with the quote from Michael Josephson he indicated, rather than being reduced to a bystander, we must take charge of our life, we must do it our way, be who we are, do not become what others want us to be. Laura Esquival introduces the main themes of the novel in the first few chapters by utilizing characters, plot, and setting in Like Water for Chocolate. The award-winning magical realism, tragedy masterpiece novella authored by Ms. Esquival is an esteemed and universally translated coming-of-age piece, which explores a scheme of ideas including traditions, cultural recipes, and feminism.

There are many families that have at least one tradition, but some people feel it is unfair injustice, and there are some who want to break free from their tradition. Tradition, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior.” For example, a common tradition many people follow would be setting off fireworks on the Fourth of July. Like Water for Chocolate novel, demonstrates a family’s struggle with tradition, Tita displays a struggle with the traditional view of the family and the customs of marriage as she wants to marry Pedro (Esquival 11). Looking back one can assume that Mama Elena is hard on Tita to follow the family tradition where the youngest daughter is prohibited to get married and must take care of her mother until death; since she was not allowed to marry her true love Jose Trevino “Because he had Negro blood in his veins.” (Esquival 137) creating a butterfly effect. Looking at how Ms. De la Garza was not allowed to marry her true love because he is black is similar to the religion Islam where Muslim women are forbidden to marry a non-Muslim unless their companion converts to Muslim. Making text-to-world connections there are multiple other cultures that have certain marriage customs forced, like in India traditionally marriages are arranged between the families of the future spouses without even consulting their daughters. Additionally, the African Americans majority of them slavery were not allowed to get married, so they improvised and would jump over a broom to symbolize their marriage and to bless their marriage. Correspondingly, Chinese culture for married is where red and gold play a critical role, as it is linked to love, happiness, honor, wealth, fertility, success, and prosperity. Tita is entrapped in a situation of not being allowed to marry the man she loves and by whom she is loved because of the tradition her family follows to not permit the youngest daughter to marry” (Perez 3). It is the message about traditions that leads to the corruption of the family. In addition, with the De la Garzas tradition with the youngest having to take care of their mother until death, Ms. De la Garzas also demonstrates toxicity about children who disobey their parents “Mama Elena burned Gertrudis’ birth certificate and all her pictures and said she didn't want to hear her name mentioned ever again.” (Esquival 59) this is an example common among cultures where kids who disobey their parents or go against what they say will be disowned like they never belong to the family in the first place. This is common to Caucasian ethnicity as elderly grandparents and parents have a race mindset and go against the idea of interracial relationships, as well as if they do not meet family expectations. Additionally, in the Indian culture, a plethora of them will disown their kids if they do not live up to their parent's expectations, or disobey them, for instance, say the parents want their kids to be a doctor, but they choose to be a lawyer. Although we will never know the true reason for this family tradition, I can assume it is for children to show respect and compassion for their parents as the parents had for them growing up. Additionally, the novella displays a tradition of cooking as, for each holiday or celebration, a certain meal is cooked. The novel displays cooking as a tradition as relationships are forged and maintained through food. Cooking is important in Central and Southern America, large family meals are a symbol of unity, and they are commonly prepared on a communal basis by many different people at the same time. A common example of food being a tradition is on Thanksgiving, where each family member prepares a dish to be served, and most of the time it will be the same thing each year, like turkey, ham, beans, pies, and so forth. Cooking is displayed in the novel as being a tradition because they pass family recipes down for each generation to use. Global looking at this food tradition varies depending on the culture my Filipino friend eats chicken instead of turkey, and lumpia, Biko sticky rice. Ms. Esquival discusses traditions, but on the contrary, she also talks about cultural recipes as well.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

Each chapter in the novel begins by displaying a family recipe that is not only a formula but is a memory and tradition being passed down for many generations. As stated by Merriam-Webster dictionary recipes are a set of instructions for preparing a particular dish, including a list of the ingredients required. There is a cultural universality to food; from starting with shopping for ingredients, followed by preparing the food, cooking it, and at last enjoying it with family. Cooking is a traditional way for women to occupy themselves, despite challenges like traditional gender ideology, budgetary constraints, and lack of food resources, they find pleasure in food preparation and express themselves through cooking. The food in the novel becomes a metaphor for love, hope, sex, happiness, and for longing. In the novel, Tita’s birthplace and her childhood home are both the kitchen, foreshadowing the importance of food and cooking to her. In the novel, Ms. Esquival incorporates magical realism and how effectively food can change someone. The opening lines introduce the relationship the novel sets up between food and humans “Take care to chop the onion fine … I suggest you place a little bit on your head.” (Esquival 5). Through food, Tita can express herself and find freedom, and also able to understand her own emotional and physical state: “It was then that she understood how the dough feels when it is plunged into boiling oil.” (Halevi-Wise 21). Tita’s magical ability to infuse her cooking with her desires and emotions allows her an outlet for rebellion. While feeling powerless, she is able to intimately affect those around her through her food. Making text-to-world connections many people find connections with food, for instance, many people make connections to food through a variety of emotions and social interactions; food is often used to support or cope with emotions and circumstances. For Tita, the smells and taste of cooking are deeply connected to memory and emotion (Esquival 9). Text-to-world it is relatable how spells can trigger memories as well as emotions, such as every holiday one cooks the same food the aroma of the food can evoke memories of the years before. Along with using my areas of knowledge I know how smells can make people feel safe and connected to memories, to give one an idea when parents or caretakers have to leave their infant baby, they often will leave a shirt or cover that has their scent on it to make the baby feel safe, as well as with pets. In the novel, it says, “Tita was literally “like water for chocolate” she was on the verge of boiling over.” (Esquival 151). It is a metaphorical language based on a culinary process that describes Tita’s emotional state. The saying illustrates how even language is connected to human emotion and food. In addition, to being a colloquial expression, it also shows the cultural significance of certain foods and recipes to the De la Garza family. There are various dishes that Tita prepares for various occasions, Mexicans also make different dishes depending on the occasion. For example, from the book A Mexican Elite Family 1820-1980 by Larissa Adler Lomnitz and Marisol Perez-Lizaur a tradition for a wealthy Mexican family is called a country gathering, at this gathering, they began with a breakfast of fruits, eggs, beans, chilaquiles, coffee, milk, and pastries (Lomnitz and Peres-lizard). Text-to society in America different dishes are made for different holidays like thanksgiving it is common for people to have turkey, mashed potatoes, macaroni, gravy, green beans, corn, and pie, whereas for Fourth of July is common to have hamburgers, hot dogs, beans, corn on the cob, ribs, potato salad, wings, and cupcakes. Economically looking at the novel, one can see who even in thought times due to the Mexican revolution Tita is still able to put forth a well-prepared meal “Gertrudis's visit to the ranch had laid waste to the larder. … but with a little imagination and a full heart one can always prepare a decent meal.” (Esquival 210). During wars, the Great Depression, pandemics, or any historical conflict food had been short, and people lost their jobs, but people still had to find ways to feed their families even if they do not have much. Not only. does Ms. Esquival discuss cultural recipes, she also discusses feminism as well.

The novella highlights many of the characters such as Tita, Mama Elena, and Gertrudis as being stronger head women. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. In our culture, the trait deem 'feminine' is often frequently associated with women. Characteristics include: being verbal and communicative, emotional, and effusive, nurturing as well as having an appreciation for beautiful things (Serano 1). Tita, the protagonist of the novel, grows from a submissive, suffocated girl into a strong, independent woman. Tita’s rebelliousness against the control of her mother Mama Elena highlights how she starts to become a strong independent woman, for instance, by not doing chores all the way right (Esquival 12). When one begins to understand Tita, one realizes that she is mistreated and that she is tired of being oppressed and wants to take charge of her situation as she disobeys her mother. Connecting back to society, you can often find females who were bullied, sexually assaulted, abused, or involved with violence to become strong independent women as they had enough and want to take control of their lives. Looking from my perspective I can relate to Tita where her mother is controlling of her life, and hard on her, as my mother is to me. Growing up I was not allowed to do many things such as go to friends' houses or go out with friends. Additionally, Mama Elena is hard on Tita even when her work is done perfectly like with the clothes, she made, my mother is similar with school I get good in all my classes, yet it is never enough, and she will get on me to do it better and practice more. In the novel, Gertrudis displays feminism as she was a general in the revolutionary army (Esquival 178). Text-to-society Gertrudis defies the social norm that men fight, and women stay at home and work, looking back in history this was a big stepping-stone for women to be able to join the army, as of US history women were not allowed to join until 1948 (DeSimone 1). Making societal connections over the last 100 years and still going on women have been fighting for equal rights like equal pay, and the same opportunities men get. Many believe that women cannot do anything to protect themselves without a man, especially in war, due to the fact that women are technically weaker than men, as well they believe men and women are not equal and that women are not looked at as human but a sex object and property for men to please themselves with. “I don’t agree, doña Elena, because of the political situation. You need a man to defend the house.” (Esquival 80) “I’ve never needed a man for anything; all by myself I’ve done all right with my ranch and my daughters.” (Esquival 80). Mama Elena is depicted as an antagonist and unlikeable character when first viewed, but she is an extraordinarily strong woman as she had to take over the ranch after her husband died, trying to keep family traditions alive and be a protector during a Mexican revolution; she portrays the feminist philosophy that women are equal to men. Make text-to-society connections parents look at to protect their kids from a type of danger regardless of how they feel for them or how their kids feel towards them, Ms. De la Garzas being a single woman raising three kids is not uncommon in today's society men leave women all the time left to fend for themselves. Going back to Mama Elena I can make connections with myself as my raised five kids and a grandson on her own without help from any men, as well as bought a house by herself making it known that you do not need a man to be a strong powerful woman. Overall, Latinx author, Laura Esquivel, the narrative explores the use of feminism in the novel.

In summary, the award-winning translating, universal coming-of-age magical realism masterpiece Like Water for Chocolate, written by visionary Latinx author, screenwriter, and activist Laura Esquival, explores a plethora of brilliant ideas including; traditions, cultural recipes, and feminism. Throughout the novel, the author uses characters to betray different themes, for example, Tita is one to be recking with as she disobeys her mother, and family traditions, and sets out to be who she wants to be. Also, in the beginning, Nacha was the one who took care of Tita and taught her the way in the kitchen. Tita grew up and took over the kitchen as Nacha had passed away. The author displays a variety of different recipes prepared for numerous occasions with what they can afford due to the war. Additionally, Mama Elena is displayed not as a mother figure but as a powerful woman who shows no sympathy toward anyone. Furthermore, New York Times best-selling author and speaker Mandy Hale, expressed, “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” The Latinx author displays growth and change throughout the novel, as Tita and Gertrudis disobey their mother to become what they want even with all the obstacles they face they do not stop. Mandy Hale's quote can be interpreted as growing and maturing to become who one wants can be hard and painful, but it is better to go through the pain than be someone to whom one does not belong. The question one must ask oneself is: will I be like Tita and Gertrudis and break away from society’s oppression and cultural social norms, or fall victim and be consumed by what others want me to do?

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Essay on ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ Metaphors. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“Essay on ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ Metaphors.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023,
Essay on ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ Metaphors. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Feb. 2024].
Essay on ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ Metaphors [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2024 Feb 21]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.