Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate Summary and Analysis of September


Tita fears that she became pregnant the night Pedro followed her into the darkroom. She has yet to tell Pedro but instead of worrying, she decides to focus on preparing the Kings’ Day Bread for her guests. While Tita makes the bed, she remembers the King’s Days of her past. As a girl, she would always receive something Mama Elena wanted her to have on King’s Day instead of the gift she herself desired. One year Nacha saved up and bought Tita a “zoetrope,” an instrument that projected images onto the wall like a movie. She and her sisters spent hours watching the zoetrope reflect images in a sequence. Tita longs for the days before Nacha died when she and her sisters laughed together. She misses the youthful joys of the past and worries about Gertrudis.

Rosaura enters the kitchen asking for Tita’s help. Since returning to the ranch, she has suffered digestive problems that result in bad breath and flatulence. The gas is so bad that she and Pedro no longer sleep in the same bed. Rosaura has also gained a lot of weight and she feels that her marriage is suffering because of these factors. Rosaura admits that she never came to Tita earlier because she suspected that she and Pedro were having an affair. Seeing how much Dr. Brown loved Tita removed these suspicions, and Rosaura was no longer afraid to come to her sister for advice. Rosaura says that Pedro first began denying her advances the night the lights came out of Mama Elena’s darkroom.

Tita agrees to help Rosaura by giving her a recipe to cure bad breath but she feels guilty for what she had done to Rosaura’s marriage and to John. While she is preparing the bread, the door swings open and Mama Elena bursts in. She yells at Tita for laying with Pedro and curses the baby in her womb. Chencha comes in to the kitchen and asks Tita why she has left the door open. Tita does not want to share her worries with Chencha because Chencha is known to gossip so she changes the subject and resumed preparing the Three Kings’ Bread.

Tita asks Pedro to help her with the bread so that she can tell her about her pregnancy, but before she can share the news, Chencha announces the neighbor’s arrival. Pedro and Tita carry the bread to the dining room where everyone is eagerly awaiting the Three Kings’ bread but Tita grows faint when she sees her mother’s ghost staring furiously at her from a corner. Paquita Lobos gets someone else to help Pedro carry the bread and takes Tita to the living room to give her smelling salts. Paquita remarks that if she did not know better, she would think Tita was pregnant. Tita quickly denies this and is grateful for the distraction that interrupts her conversation with Paquita.

Gertrudis returns to the ranch leading a troop of revolutionary soldiers on horseback. Riding beside her is Juan Alejandrez, now a General in the army, the man with whom Gertrudis ran away and later married. Gertrudis has returned to participate in the tradition of cutting the Three Kings’ bread. Whoever finds the doll inside the bread is considered lucky. Earlier in the kitchen, Tita held the doll in her hand and wished that Gertrudis would come home, that Esperanza would be able to marry and that she had never met Pedro.

Gertrudis is pleased to hear of Mama Elena’s death. She boasts that she earned her position as General of the Revolutionary Army through hard work alone. She wishes her mother were alive to witness these accomplishments. A year later, Gertrudis births a mulatto child and Juan threatens to leave her. In order to save their marriage Tita reveals her mother’s secrets to Juan and Gertrudis. Juan is a little disappointed, but he and Gertrudis remain together.


The memory that introduces this chapter is one of few that are not directly inspired by food. As Kings’ day approaches, Tita becomes nostalgic for her childhood. She misses her maternal figure Nacha and the times when she and her two sisters interacted peacefully with each other. In remembering Tita even describes a more sympathetic version of Mama Elena. Though she did not get Tita exactly what she wanted, Mama Elena still treated Tita with a gift. Tita’s perception of the future seems rosy compared to her present predicament: she believes she might be pregnant with Pedro’s baby.

Tita’s reminiscence on family during the holidays and the joy they shared foreshadows the chapter’s later events. Kings’ Day becomes, in part, a time for restoring and recuperating relationships that had suffered in Tita’s adult life. The recovery begins with Tita’s relationship with Rosaura.

Rosaura continues to suffer from various ailments in this chapter. Her newest complication causes poor digestion and foul breath. Ironically, these superficial flaws plague the woman who is so overly concerned about her image. In a weakened state because of her latest health problems, Rosaura decides to reach out to Tita for help. Tita agrees to help her sister and the two partake cordially. However, the reunion between sisters occurs under false pretenses. Rosaura believes that Pedro and Tita can no longer be interested in each other because Tita agreed to marry Dr. Brown. She does not even suspect that Tita might be carrying Pedro’s baby.

Tita’s relationship with another family member also shifts during this chapter. For the first time since her death, Mama Elena’s ghost returns to chide Tita for sleeping with Pedro. Even from the grave, Mama Elena has the power to weaken Tita both physically and psychologically.

In keeping with the reunion, Gertrudis makes her return to the ranch. She is pleased to hear of Mama Elena’s death and glad to see her sister once more. Gertrudis will be the second daughter to continue the family when she becomes pregnant with Juan Alejandrez’s child. During this pregnancy, the theme of inter-racial identity re-emerges. Tita must share Mama Elena’s secret affair in order to preserve the relationship between Gertrudis and Juan Alejandrez.