Water for Chocolate

The book Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel opens with the birth of Tita, who is taken to the kitchen to basically be raised by the cook rather than her mother. The first chapter also describes Tita's upbringing and the strict demands made by her mother. When Pedro asks for Tita's hand in marriage, her mother will not let her, saying it is a family tradition that the younger daughter stays unmarried and cares for the mother in her old age. Instead, Pedro marries Tita's older sister Rosaura, but only in order that he can be close to her.

In the next chapter, Pedro and Rosaura's wedding takes place, and Tita and Nacha do the cooking. Tita is immensely sad over the wedding and weeps into the cake batter. Pedro tries to explain his feelings for her, but she will not listen, and goes back to ice the cake. The cake makes everyone who eats it experience the same sadness and longing that Tita feels, and her mother is convinced that she poisoned the cake. Nacha is found dead at the end of this chapter.

The third chapter further intensifies Tita's magical power with food, when she cooks a meal containing rose petals from a rose Pedro gives her. It creates great feelings of passion in the people who eat it, so much so that Tita's other sister, Gertrudis, begins emitting a pink sweat and a strong sexual aroma. When she tries to shower this away, the ranch house is set on fire, and the naked Gertrudis is swept away by a soldier who had been drawn by her scent.

In the closing chapter of this first third of the book, Rosaura gives birth to her and Pedro's son. Tita helps deliver the baby and also must nurse it in secret. In addition, this chapter contains a meeting between Pedro and Tita that restores the love in their relationship, but Mama Elena send Pedro and family away.

Dialectic Journal #1:

Quote: "The weeping was just the first symptom of a strange intoxication -- and acute attack of pain and frustration -- that seized the guests and scattered them across the patio and the grounds and in the bathrooms, all of them wailing over lost love." (p. 39)

Paraphrase/Context: This quote is saying that there were more symptoms than just crying over the feelings of pain and lost love for the people that ate the wedding cake. It is referring to the nausea that is a part of the effect, too. This comes just after the cake has been cut and is being eaten; the same cake that leads to Nancha's death by creating the same feelings of loss and despair in her after Tita's tears fell in the batter, carrying her pent up feelings into the cake.

Analysis: This quote shows the destructive power that love can have. Tita's sorrow could not be as strong as it was if the love she had for Pedro was not equal in power. It is this love that causes her such grief on the day the he is marrying her sister, and so in a sense it is her love of Pedro that makes everyone at the wedding sick. Tita's love, and the sorrow it created, were so powerful as to be translated through her tears into the cake, ruining the wedding reception and ultimately leading to Nancha's death. Through her cooking, which Nancha taught her, Tita's love has managed to kill her friend, confidante, and kind maternal figure.

The wedding itself should have been a symbol of love; love is, after all, what weddings are meant to celebrate. The fact that Tita's loveā€¦