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Comparing the Aberrant Relationships Between Mother and Daughters and the Imposed Traditional Gender Roles in Paradise of the Blind and Like Water for Chocolate

  • Date Submitted: 10/10/2010 12:25 AM
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Comparing the Aberrant Relationships Between Mother and Daughters and the Imposed Traditional Gender Roles in Paradise of the Blind and Like Water for Chocolate

      In Paradise of the Blind and Like Water for Chocolate, the protagonists Tita and Hang, were both teenage girls raised by women other than their own mothers. The aberrant relationships between mother and daughter described in both novels reflect the struggle of the new generation against the old. By detaching from their own mothers, whether it was by choice or by force, the protagonists are also breaking away from the traditional gender role imposed on them and regaining their free will to pursue their dreams.

      Tita in Like Water for Chocolate was raised in the kitchen and taken care of by Nacha, the family cook, from the day the little girl was born. After Tita’s father died from a heart attack, Mama Elena’s milk dried up and she was not capable of taking care of Tita. Nacha “offered to take charge of feeding Tita” (Esquivel 6) and Tita’s “domain was the kitchen” (Esquivel 7) with Nacha from that day on. The intimate relationship between Tita and her surrogate mother is symbolized by food, which plays a significant role in the novel as a tool for characters to communicate and express their emotions. When Tita was little, “sometimes she would cry for no reason at all, like when Nacha chopped onions.” (Esquivel 7). This inseparable relation between chopping onions and tears symbolizes Tita and Nacha’s emotional connection with each other. Nacha’s ox-tail soup is another symbol of their near mother-daughter relationship as “they had so often made ox-tail soup together” (Esquivel 124) and “stroking [Tita’s] hair as she ate” (Esquivel 124). When Nacha passed away, Tita was deeply depressed by her death as if “her real mother had died”(Esquivel 48). On the other hand, the alienation between Tita and Mama Elena had always been strained because of the latter’s tyrannical temperament. The alienation...

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