Like Water for Chocolate

Analysis of Chapter 5 of Like Water for Chocolate, the Scene in Which Tita and Pedro Meet in the Dead of Night

Throughout the novel, Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel, Tita, the struggling protagonist wages an emotional battle with herself. Given that the tale takes place in early 20th century Mexico, the concepts of uncontested familial obligations and matriarchal rule were socially accepted values. For a daughter especially, to dissent from her mother’s word was considered outrageous. Consequently, on the one hand, Tita feels bound to the traditionally accepted role of the youngest daughter to remain unwed so as to care for her mother, whereas on the other she holds a reciprocated passion for her older sister’s husband, Pedro. This prominent theme of filial duty versus sexual desire is accentuated throughout the night meeting scene in Chapter 5, making this passage a pivotal moment in the novel. Additionally, the passage is representative of the animalistic tendencies in Tita, Pedro, and Mama Elena alike.

First, the setting and mood created by Esquivel lays the foundation for the passage, creating an ambiance of moral tension and forbidden desire. As the night shrouds everything in darkness, Tita finds her vision impaired both literally and figuratively, which creates confusion and tension. Adding to this is the close...

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