Tradition is an important part of life during Tita's time. In fact, it is tradition that keep Tita and Pedro apart. Tita and Pedro are fiercely in love. However, because tradition dictates that the youngest daughter does not marry in order to care for her aging parents, Pedro fails to gain Tita's hand in marriage when he speaks to her mother. Instead, he is offered Rosaura, Tita's older sister. She is the middle sister and is not yet married. Tradition dictates that daughters marry in order. Pedro agrees to marry Rosaura but only because he sees this as his only chance to be near Tita, for her mother will never allow her to marry.
Tradition continues to be one of Tita's main conflicts during the course of the novel. Family tradition required Tita to remain unmarried so she could take care of her mother for the rest of her life. Similarly, Rosaura, Tita's sister and Pedro's wife, decides that she also will follow this tradition and that her daughter will care for her and remain unmarried. Tita is furious because she recognizes that the tradition is completely unfair; if she cannot marry and have children, who will support her in her old age? She tells Rosaura that she will go against tradition as long as she has to, "as long as this cursed tradition doesn't take me into account."