It is the month of October in Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate, and Mama Elena, who had died in Chapter 7, July, has returned in the form of a ghost to haunt Tita. The tempestuous relationship between mother and daughter that has dominated Tita’s life, and the novel, is reaching its climatic ending, as the constant taunts and reprimands issued by the Mama Elena’s ghost have finally exhausted Tita to the point where she can finally confront her forever-disapproving mother. Tita is panic-stricken regarding the possibility of being pregnant as a result of her encounter with Pedro, as the loss of her virginity and the consequent conception will certainly threaten her future with John Brown. When Pedro appears beneath Tita’s window in Chapter 10 to serenade her, Mama Elena responds with the bitterness and acrimony that has characterized her existence since her own relationship disintegrated. As Esquivel’s narrative describes the scene:
A furious Mama Elena came into her room and said to her: "See what you've done now? You and Pedro are shameless. If you don't want blood to flow in this house, go where you can't do any harm to anybody, before it's too late."
"Shut your mouth! Who do you think you are?"
"I know who I am! A person who has a perfect right to live her life as she pleases. Once and for all, leave me alone I won't put up with you! I hate you, I've always hated you!"
Tita had said the magic words that would make Mama Elena disappear forever. The imposing figure of her mother began to shrink until it became no more than a tiny light. As the ghost faded away, a sense of relief grew inside Tita's body.
Tita’s forceful exertion of independence against the tyrannical presence of the ghost has resulted in the Mama Elena’s spirit disappearing and the resumption of her menstrual cycle, indicating that she is no pregnant.