In "Chocolat" how Vianne relate to the world through food?

Expert Answers
lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Vianne relates to the world through food, but oh, WHAT food! It is CHOCOLATE! The fact that she uses chocolate is significant because it is one of life's pleasures that cannot be indulged in too much. It is sweet, and rich, and delicious, and fattening. And, during Lent, many Catholics give it up to participate in Christ's sacrifice in the period of time up until Easter. Thus it is in the small French town where Vianne sets up shop.

The people in this town lead an austere existence, watched over with the eagle eye of the local priest. Vianne tempts the people to try her chocolate by giving out free tastes, but with her keen sense of observation and a little magical realism, she is able to discern details about each person that allow her to figure out just the right type of chocolate that is that person's favorite kind. Might it be chocolate with mint? Or chocolate with chili peppers? Or a choclate drink, perhaps? "It's your favorite kind," she always replies, and she is right!

Vianne relates to each individual through the candy. She takesĀ  the time to talk with people and looks them in the eye, observes them out in the town, and somehow she knows. She also is cognizant of the fact that they need a little "sinful" pleasure in their lives - even the priest! As the people are drawn to her and her candy shop, they keep returning. The idea of the story is that people should enjoy themselves while they are here on earth. Life is hard, but there is joy as well -- all wrapped up in a little piece of candy. What is your favorite kind?