Laura Esquivel Analysis

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

In Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate, how do duty and responsibility conflict with desire?

Compare the three sisters Rosaura, Gertrudis, and Tita. They have very different personalities and lead very different lives. Do they break with convention, or are they representative of female stereotypes?

Mamá Elena has been keeping a secret for many years. How does that secret relate to the rigid traditional roles she maintains herself and tries to force on others?

Each of the chapters of the novel contains elements or examples of Magical Realism. Give three specific examples of Magical Realism in Like Water for Chocolate and discuss the significance of the example to the chapter or the novel as a whole.

Is Tita a feminist character? What evidence in the text supports your answer?

At one point, Tita must choose between Dr. John Brown and Pedro. Why does she choose Pedro, and who is the better choice?

Why are the male characters in Like Water for Chocolate less developed than the female characters?

How does the historical background of the Mexican Revolution contribute to the novel?


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Giannotti, Janet. A Companion Text for “Like Water for Chocolate.” Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999. Written for students studying English as a second language who are reading the novel’s English translation.

Glenn, Kathleen M. “Postmodern Parody and Culinary-Narrative Art in Laura Esquivel’s Como Agua para Chocolate.” Chasqui 23, no. 2 (November, 1994). A significant analysis of the novel as a contemporary incarnation of the Mexican folletín.

Jaffe, Janice. “Hispanic American Women Writers’ Novel Recipes and Laura Esquivel’s Como Agua para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate).” Women’s Studies 22, no. 2 (1993). Valuable for its feminist critique of the novel’s female characters.

O’Neill, Molly. “Sensing the Spirit in All Things, Seen and Unseen.” The New York Times Biographical Service 24, no. 3 (March, 1993). Biographical information.

Valdés, María Elena de. “Verbal and Visual Representation of Women: Como Agua para Chocolate/Like Water for Chocolate.” World Literature Today 69, no. 1 (Winter, 1995). Compares the women’s magazines of nineteenth century Mexico with the “parody” of both the novel and the film.