Therese Raquin

Mothers and Daughters in Like Water for Chocolate and Therese Raquin

Throughout Like Water for Chocolate and Therese Raquin, mothers reinforce limitations that repress their daughters’ emotions. Striving for their goals, Tita and Therese face barricades that alter their personalities and morph their desires. The aspirations of the protagonists develop through repression, accentuating their struggle to achieve their passions.

The protagonist’s desires are smothered by their mothers. In Like Water for Chocolate, Mama Elena disregards Tita’s longing for marriage and a family of her own. Mama Elena forces Tita, her youngest daughter, to adhere to the family tradition, dictating Tita “can’t marry or have children because (she has) to take care of (her) mother until she dies” (Esquivel, 1993, p. 72). This shatters Tita’s prospects for the future. Her mother blockades Tita’s happiness in life, wounding her. In order to uphold the family tradition, Mama Elena refuses Pedro’s request to marry Tita, but concocts another idea, “allow me to suggest my daughter Rosaura” (16). Tita’s heart is crushed as she is forced to assist with the wedding ceremony and watch her sister marry her love. Mama Elena does not let Tita “have an opinion” (14) in anything. Tita is in an ancillary position and serves her family as...

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