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Fire symbolizes desire and destructive passion in the novel, as there are actually three different times when characters explode into flames. The first example is when Gertrudis eats Tita's rose petals and becomes so aroused that she sets the walls of the family's outdoor shower on fire. A second occasion is when Mama Elena's spirit becomes so angry about Tita and Pedro's relationship that it causes an oil lamp to explode and burn Pedro. The final example of this explosive passion is when Tita eats candles after Pedro's death, killing herself and destroying the family's ranch.
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