LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE - Character analysis

  • Created by: ILM2000
  • Created on: 12-12-17 19:08


Tita is the protagonist of the book. She is being forced to adhere to a family tradition that says she must stay unmarried and look after her mother until her mother’s death. This tradition prohibits Tita from marrying her lover Pedro, who marries her sister Rosaura in an attempt to stay close to Tita. At the start of the novel, Tita is a submissive and timid character - she does what her mother tells her to do and doesn’t follow her true desires. Tita’s main means of communication and emotional release is through cooking. Tita was raised in the kitchen by Nacha, so she is able to cook amazing food and uses this as a means of expression. When Tita is emotional, the emotions she feels are transferred to those who eat her food, for example when she cries into Pedro and Rosaura’s wedding cake batter, the guests all become violently ill and experience feelings of heartache. Throughout the novel, Tita learns to express herself through words, with the help of Dr John Brown. He gives her the ability to use her words, and thereby become a stronger person as she can now be active in her defiance and tell others how she feels, e.g. when she shouts at Mama Elena’s ghost. By the end of the novel, Tita has become her own character, showing the strength and capability of making her own decisions. This is most evident in the final chapter of the book, where she eats matches to set herself on fire (magic realism) so that she can be with Pedro in the afterlife. Tita makes a conscious decision to take action in her own life, which is the first proper instance of her doing so in the novel. This shows that Tita grows to become a powerful and independent character.


Mama Elena is the matriarch of the De La Garza family and the main holder of power for most of the novel. Mama Elena is the mother of Rosaura, Gertrudis and Tita. She favours Rosaura over the other sisters simply because she is the oldest, and she is forcing Tita to take part in a family tradition of the youngest daughter staying unmarried, looking after the mother until her death. Mama Elena is a cold and ruthless woman - she has no compassion for Tita’s wishes and does what she wants. In the middle of the novel, it is revealed that Mama Elena has also had a tortured love life, as she was in love with José Treviño - a black American who fled to Mexico to escape the American Civil War. Mama Elena had been forced to marry a local Mexican man, Juan De La Garza - the father of Rosaura and Tita - as her parents didn’t approve of José’s race. Gertrudis is actually José’s daughter and he and Elena were planning on running away together after her birth, but José was murdered and Elena decided to stay with her legal husband,


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