Food and Fantasy as Reflection of Female Repression in Like Water for Chocolate

Pat Tyrer


Set in Mexico at the turn of the 20th century, Laura Esquivel’s contemporary novel, Like Water for Chocolate, centers on the youngest daughter of the De la Garza family whose familial position destines her to remain at home, unmarried, and in charge of the life-long care of her tyrannical mother. The conflict arises when Tita falls in love and is denied both marriage and influence over her own affairs. Ultimately, Tita negotiates a voice through the elaborate, fantastical recipes she creates, thereby subverting gender suppression by speaking through the stereotypical women’s sphere of cooking. These recipes and their fantastic results mirror and reinforce the central theme of the novel, that of suppression of the female voice and its inevitable explosion of expression elsewhere.
Key words: Esquivel; Like Water for Chocolate; female repression; matriarchy


Esquivel; Like Water for Chocolate; female repression; matriarchy



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