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Political Allegory and Character Archetypes in

Like Water for Chocolate

Nahomi Mochimatsu

Period 2
18 September 2014

Allegory is a story that shows you a lesson by the way it is written. A political allegory is
a connection that a character does or causes that is compared to a political or historical event.
Laura Esquivel, author of Like Water for Chocolate, adds recipes to the narrative by using
allegory. LIke Water for Chocolate is a political allegory that uses characters to represent
oppression, rebellion and selfish conformity.
Laura Esquivel uses the character Tita to represent oppression. Mama Elena represents
oppression by controlling Tita on what to do with her life. Mama Elena demands, you have to
take care of me until the day I die...You dont have an opinion...not a single person in my family
has ever questioned this tradition, and no daughter of mine is going to start (11). Tita is not
able to do what she wants to do with her life because she is being oppressed by Mama Elena.
Mama Elena oppresses Tita by controlling her daughter to follow their traditions. She also says,
I wouldnt stand for disobedience.. nor am I going to allow you to ruin your sisters wedding
with you acting like a victim and dont ever let me catch you with a single tear or a long face,
do you hear (27). Mama Elena performs as a dictator, so Mama Elena does not allow Tita to
be disobedient or be sad.
In Like Water for Chocolate, Esquivel uses the character Gertrudis as a symbol of
rebellion. Gertrudis represents rebellion when she says, Now at last, after so many men have
been with me, I feel a great relief (126). Mama Elenas orders and beliefs and controlling
Gertrudis made Gertrudis be so passionate over men, so that she acted so impulsive over men.
Mama Elena, burned Gertrudis birth certificate and all of her pictures and said she didnt want
to hear her name mentioned ever again (59). When Gertrudis upset the authority, Gertrudis
seemed rebellious because of Mama Elenas violent action for burning Gertrudis pictures and
birth certificate.
Esquivel created the character Pedro to represent selfish conformity. Pedro is a selfish
conformist because he only wants to have every desire he has. Esquivel describes Pedros
selfish desires, saying, a single rhythmic and sensual motion, a single trembling breath, a
single desire. They stayed in this enormous ecstasy until Pedro lowered his eyes and stared
steadily at Titas breasts (67). Pedro is a selfish conformist because he wants to satisfy his
desires with Tita. Pedros desire for Tita is to have an interaction with her, which is having sex
with her. Pedro, smiling delightedly he went over to them, bent down, and kissed Tita on the
forehead (76). Pedro wants to have an opportunity to have a physical reaction with Tita, he is
only thinking about himself. Pedro is a conformist because he follows what the dictator said, but
he is being selfish for wanting to be close to Tita. Pedro shows his selfish by telling Tita he only
got marry just to be on the same environment she is at, opportunity to whisper in Titas ear: I
am sure I will be, since through this marriage I have gained what really wanted: the chance to
be near you, the woman I really love.(38).
Esquivels use of political allegory adds to the narrative to teach the audience a lesson.
The rhetorical device of allegory is to show the language that is intended to have an effect on
the audience. This effect is clear in Like Water for Chocolate because Titas experiences make
the audience to be more interested in the novel because if the audience have the same conflict,
it can teach the audiences how to deal with their problems. Overall, the moral lesson in
Esquivels novel is that people might never have happiness in the beginning, but there will be a
happy ending on the end of the rainbow. In addition, Like Water for Chocolate is made of a
political allegory that characters represents oppression, rebellion and selfish conformity. Tita,
the main character, demonstrated oppression because Tita was being controlled over an
authority which is Mama Elena. Gertrudis represents the rebellion because she directly defies
authority as a rebuked authority. Pedro represents selfish conformist because he does not think
of the actions or others feelings only about what he wants.