Like Water for Chocolate by Esquivel

Essay by bubbles_15 October 2004

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Like Water for Chocolate is characterized as a novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by its own author Laura Esquivel. Its subtitle stands as a welcome and an inviter for women everywhere. The novel intricately weaves through its narrative motifs like love, passion, sorrow and oppression. Esquivel uses stylistic features such as the simile in the title, the metaphor in the quail in rose petal sauce scene and the overall symbol of food to present and further explain the theme of escaping from tradition as a means for women's self-empowerment and liberation.

The title of the novel Like Water for Chocolate introduces the story with an immediate indication to the readers that it was intended for a specific audience - women. The use of the simile in the title is a stylistically based technique employed by Esquivel to show how only certain people will be able to understand the real meaning behind it.

In Mexican cooking traditions, it is known that to dissolve chocolate, the milk or water in which it is cooked has to be very close to its boiling point. The implications of using this simile as the title of the book, suggests that all women who read this novel will understand it because all women ought to be familiar with the art of cooking which should be an essential part in their lives. As a matter of fact, Esquivel makes such assumptions with various references to food and preparations for it. "Tita wanted to give a twenty-course banquet the likes of which had never been given before, and of course she couldn't leave the delicious chiles in walnut sauce off of the menu, even though they took so much work"(230). Nodleman talks about authors who make this sort of assumptions in his...