In "Chocolat", why does Vianne think that chocolate is a life's pleasure and indulgence? Explain the reasons.

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chocolat, Vianne's character is meant to represent an alternative to the strict religious way of life that governs the town.  The story is mainly set during Lent, the predominantly Catholic observed 40 days before Easter in which people often "give up" something, or fast, to purify themselves in preparation for the celebration of Christ's resurection.  The parish priest has been preaching on a weekly basis that this self-cleansing is the means to finding true freedom, happiness, and peace.

Vianne on the other hand, believes that there is another way to finding freedom, happiness, and peace for the soul.  Her avenue is through a chocolate shop.  She thinks chocolate is a deserved pleasure and that by indulging, many people will be able to open up their heart and soul to their true dreams and desires, which will ultimately bring them fulfilment and peace.  It is suggested throughout the novel that Vianne has a mystical witch-like power to read into people's souls and discover the hidden secrets which, when revealed, will set them free.  Another argument could be though, that rather than doing this through magic, Vianne is simply connected by a mutual desire to be free herself.  Much like Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter, it is almost as though Vianne is connected because she is not different than anyone else, she is simply liberated enough to be genuine - and because of that, people open up to her and trust her.

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