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MOTHER-DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP IN LAURA ESQUIVEL ’S COMO AGUA PARA CHOCOLATE JEANINE LINO PEREZ By confronting the Terrible Mother in order to move beyond the entanglements of the mother/daughter relationship, and by claiming her as a metaphor for the sources of our own creative powers, women are creating new self-configurations in which the mother is no longer the necessary comfort but the seed of a new being, and in which we are no longer the protected child but the carriers of the new woman whose birth is our own. Karen Elias-Button: 205 LAURA Esquivel’s Como agua para chocolate –novela de entregas mensuales con recetas, amores y remedios caseros is a contemporary Mexican novel first published in 1989 that can be analyzed in various ways. The use of recipes and cooking as a means of expressing feelings and causing different reactions on people, the use of recipes to begin each chapter, forbidden love, the love triangle formed by Pedro, Tita, and Rosaura, the roles of women in the Mexican society, the Mexican Revolution and other issues are certainly food for thought. However, I am particularly interested in the relationship between Tita and her mother, Mama Elena, as I believe this sort of relation is crucial to a person’s development and behavior. I intend to investigate the relationship between Tita and Elena, applying the theory of some critics concerning the issue of motherhood-daughterhood. 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 of not permitting the youngest daughter to marry. As the youngest, Tita was meant to look after her mother until she died. Laura Esquivel states that outer reality (in Tita’s case, the reality of being the youngest daughter and having to fulfill her destiny) and inner desire (Tita’s desire to marry Pedro) is something that interests her. Esquivel says: 191 Tradition is an element that enters into play with destiny, because you are born into a particular family – Jewish or Islamic or Mexican – and your family determines to some extent what you are expected to become. And society is always there attempting to determine the role we will play within it. And these expectations are not always in good relationship with our personal desires. I am always interested in that relationship between outer reality and inner desire, and I think it is important to pay attention to the inner voice, because it is the only way to discover your mission in life, and the only way to develop the strength to break with whatever familial or cultural norms are preventing you from fulfilling your destiny. Tita’s destiny is sad, but she never quits fighting for a reversal of it. Esquivel, in the same interview, states that “[destiny] is a path you must follow, or travel, and it is up to you to decide how you are going to travel it.” Sara Castro-Klarén points out that the woman in Latin America is often portrayed as chaste when she is a mother. Further, Castro-Klarén maintains that “the idealization of female values, the Catholic cult of the Virgin Mother Mary” (10) are explanations given by social analysts and historians for the “cult of the mother.” In Como agua para chocolate, however, Mama Elena is portrayed not as an idealized mother but as a tyrant. Her reaction on the occasion that Tita first tries to express her opinion is an example of her character: “Nunca, por generaciones, nadie en mi familia ha protestado ante esta costumbre y no va a ser una de mis hijas quien lo haga” (9) [For generations, not a single person in my family has ever questioned this tradition, and no daughter of mine is going to be the one to start (11)]. Furthermore, Mama Elena is later discovered to have betrayed her husband with her true love, her lover who was the father of one of her daughters, the middle daughter Gertrudis. Elena’s bitter temperament is to some extent understood and forgiven by Tita when she finds out her mother’s secret. Nevertheless, the fact...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2165-7599
Print ISSN
0035-7995
Pages
pp. 191-202
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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