In the novel, Laura Esquivel contrasts John Brown with Pedro in order to illustrate Tita's inner conflict. This is a classic "man versus self" conflict, where the protagonist must decide on the path she will take.
When the story begins, Tita is a dutiful daughter who must subjugate every independent impulse to her mother's whims. Mama Elena is imperious, mercurial, and vindictive; she expects Tita to remain unmarried so that someone will care for her in her old age. For her part, Tita is in love with Pedro, but Mama Elena gives her consent for Pedro to marry Rosaura (Tita's older sister).
As for Pedro, his only reason for marrying Rosaura is to be near Tita. The marriage is one of convenience, and even Rosaura knows it. Thrown together by fate, the two lovers are reduced to enjoying brief, stealthy interactions that are fraught with sexual tension. Unable to consummate their love for each other under Mama Elena's watchful eye, Tita must make a choice. Will she rebel against her mother's...
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