Like Water for Chocolate

by Laura Esquivel

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How does Tita describe the loss of Nacha in Like Water for Chocolate?

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On the day of the wedding, Tita finds Nacha "lying dead, her eyes wide open . . . a picture of her fiancé clutched in her hands." This description, particularly of the "wide open" eyes, implies that Nacha did not die peacefully. The word "clutched" also implies something like desperation or anguish. The fact that Nacha was clutching a picture of her fiancé also suggests that at least some of Nacha's pain was perhaps sentimental. Tita also describes "medicinal leaves" upon Nacha's temples, which suggests that she died in the grip of a severe sickness. It is also implicit in the text that Nacha died alone. Indeed, Tita "found" Nacha's dead body, implying that she was the first to do so.

After Nacha's death, Tita is promoted to the position of official ranch cook. Tita is pleased, "in spite of the sorrow she felt at losing Nacha." Tita is also described as "in a very deep depression" and "completely alone" without Nacha. Tita feels "as if her real mother had died," and for the rest of the novel, she hears Nacha and feels Nacha's presence, indicating that Nacha will always remain with her, at least in spirit.

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Tita is in deep sorrow at the death of Nacha. Although Nacha was an elderly lady and her passing away wasn't much of a shock, her death is no less devastating for Tita. It has left her feeling depressed and alone. It's almost as if she's lost her own mother. Tita and Nacha enjoyed a very close, special relationship, and it was Nacha, the family cook, who effectively raised Tita and passed on to her the numerous recipes she'd acquired over the years. With Nacha's passing, Tita now takes over as ranch cook. This allows her to put her troubled emotions to good use, channeling them into making ever more elaborate dishes. The first of these is an indigenous dish involving rose petals, its recipe seemingly dictated to Tita by the voice of Nacha.

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