The Presentation of Magical Realism in Laura Esquivels Like Water for Chocolate

Throughout Laura Esquivel??™s book several events occur that are of a slightly super-natural nature. Things take place that would not normally happen in a realistic replica of the particular circumstance. The book itself is set during the Mexican civil war, takes us through the life of Tita, who finds true love at a early age but who??™s life is systematically ruined by her far-superior mother. Tita seems too have a form of mystical power about her, shown through strange occurrences through her unfortunate life. Esquivel creates this ???magical realism??? for several different reasons which I will elaborate in the following points.

The storyline for, ???For Water Like Chocolate??? is quite realistic in itself and could be easily considered a series of episodes that actually took place during the Mexican civil war. There is strong evidence, though, to show that the book fits more snugly in the ???fantasy??? genre of ???fiction??? books. This idea gives Esquivel??™s book a uniqueness, helping to exaggerate the emotions that the characters display and aiding the audience to understand better the sub-text of the book, the ???hidden feelings??? if you will.

The first hint of magical realism in ???Like Water For Chocolate???, is on the very first page of chapter 1/January, ???when she was till in my great-grandmother??™s belly??? (from Esperanz??™s point of view) ???her sobs were so loud that even Nacha, the cook, who was half-deaf, could hear them easily???. Obviously, this is not a major moment where magical realism is used, but it is definitely a situation where the event could not technically occur in real life. A baby cannot even cry, let alone be heard whilst in the womb (except perhaps moments before birth). In actual life this is nonsense, but in ???For Water Like Chocolate??? the baby was heard crying, ???when she was still in the belly???. This idea really helps to exaggerate, in this instance, how much onions affect Tita. These magical realism moments can all be read in more than one way. Tita crying in the womb suggests either her extreme allergy to onions, or Tita??™s highly-sensitive connection to food or something to d with the kitchen.

An example of a much larger case of Esquivel??™s use of magical realism is at Rosaura??™s wedding to Pedro. This boy is deeply in love with Tita, and vice versa. Unfortunately, Mama Elena forbids anything between them, and sentences Tita to follow a miserable family tradition. Tita is so immensely upset that the night before the wedding, whilst preparing the icing for the wedding cake, she burst into tears that fall into the meringue. Nacha quickly sends Tita to bed and continues with the process, though when she tastes the mixture for any inconsistency due to Tita??™s tears, the magical realism is brought up again; ???yet without knowing why, Nacha was suddenly overcome with an intense longing???. Tita??™s feelings of hurt, craving and misery have been mixed into the meringue through her tears. This of course is very unrealistic and would certainly not happen. The idea is continued through to the day of the wedding. ???The moment they took their first bit of cake, everyone was flooded with a great wave of longing???, ???an acute attack of pain and frustration???, ???the collective vomiting that was going on all over the patio???. These are all the effects of Tita??™s tears. This piece of magical realism is very ambiguous though, as are many in the story. Rosaura is coated in vomit and carried away, showing perhaps that she was not meant to be the correct partner for Pedro. The whole whiteness of the wedding, a highly traditional concept, is dirtied by the sick of the many attendants. This is like Tita on the family tradition, as later in the book she brakes from the tradition, ruining it, like the wedding is ruined. The emotions are hugely emphasized by the outcome.

Magical realism in used to show the effect Mama Elena has had on Tita??™s life in the late chapters. After Mama Elena??™s death, Tita is free of the family tradition forever, but she still feels greatly influenced by the stern power of Mama Elena. Twice she is revisited by Mama Elena??™s ghost. This could be seen, though, as a from in Tita??™s imagination, as during the time she was alive Mama Elena scared her so much. In September Mama Elena confronts Tita, ???I told you many times not to go near Pedro. Why did you do it???
???I Tried, Mami??¦ but-???
???But Nothing! What you have done has no name!???
Mama Elena has a huge influence on Tita??™s entire life, even when she is no longer present in mortal form. Tita still remembers that when she does something immoral, how badly judged and punished she would be.

There are many more cases of magical realism, the book is riddled with a numerous amount of little occasions where Esquivel sneaks something in that doesnt seem quite right. The whole idea of this magical realism could just be down to mis-interpretation from Esperanz??™s part; she is the narrator of the book, as we can tell from finding out who she is during the book and applying this knowledge to evidence in the first paragraph of the book. Through the generations, the story may have been altered or exaggerated to make a more exciting tale. Or, the story could just be filled with magical incidents and be a completely fictional tale. The magical realism really contributes to keep a reader interested in the book. Abnormal things usually interest people, opposed to everyday boring routine happenings. People consider the irregular consequences and want to discover how and why these strange things are occurring.

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