In "Chocolat", how does Vianne relate to the world through food?

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Vianne relates to the world through food, but oh, WHAT food! It is CHOCOLATE! The fact that she uses chocolate is significant because it is one of life's pleasures that cannot be indulged in too much. It is sweet, and rich, and delicious, and fattening. And, during Lent, many Catholics give it up to participate in Christ's sacrifice in the period of time up until Easter. Thus it is in the small French town where Vianne sets up shop.

The people in this town lead an austere existence, watched over with the eagle eye of the local priest. Vianne tempts the people to try her chocolate by giving out free tastes, but with her keen sense of observation and a little magical realism, she is able to discern details about each person that allow her to figure out just the right type of chocolate that is that person's favorite kind. Might it be chocolate with mint? Or chocolate with chili peppers? Or a choclate drink, perhaps? "It's your favorite kind," she always replies, and she is right!

Vianne relates to each individual through the candy. She takes  the time to talk with people and looks them in the eye, observes them out in the town, and somehow she knows. She also is cognizant of the fact that they need a little "sinful" pleasure in their lives - even the priest! As the people are drawn to her and her candy shop, they keep returning. The idea of the story is that people should enjoy themselves while they are here on earth. Life is hard, but there is joy as well -- all wrapped up in a little piece of candy. What is your favorite kind?

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In "Chocolat" Vianne's relationship between food and pleasure.

Vianne is a natural nurturer. She is also a nurturer in search of a home, acceptance, and love. However, she has much more to give to a town which is so set back in pruddish and holier than thou behaviors. She can sense, in her intuitive tendencies, that the easiest way to liberate the town would be doing what she does best: Opening a chocolatier. She understands that, like the Mayans and Gypsies such as herself have done in years past, the chemistry of chocolate is unique in that it liberates the palate, engages one's hormones, and uninhibits behavior. In the preparation of Vianne's chocolate, she added ingredients that reflected the personalities that her customers needed to liberate. She chose food as her tool not only because she was good at it, but because that would be the easiest way to reach (literally and figuratively) the town from the inside out, release their sense of pleasure and, at the same time, liberate them from their self-imposed punishments.

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