Study Guide

Like Water for Chocolate Setting

By Laura Esquivel

Setting

Mexico

It's a dog-eat dog-world during the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1917. While the ranch seems removed from the actions and events at times, Esquivel never lets us forget that there's a pretty brutal battle being fought. We see it in the decline of fancy-schmancy food:

They had to get every possible use from this pig, one of the few animals that had survived the visit from the revolutionary army had made to the ranch a few days before. (5, 291)

We also feel it in the violence from the bandits:

They raped Chencha. Mama Elena […] suffered a strong blow to her spine and was left a paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. (7, 439)

And, we also see it echoed in the characters, especially in Tita. Just as Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata wanted to revive democracy and put Mexico back into the hands of all Mexicans, Tita wants her life in her own hands, and eventually rejects the dictatorship of Mama Elena.

Like Gertrudis, Tita's able to escape the ranch at the end of chapter 6; when she returns, she's a changed woman:

For the first time Tita firmly held [Mama Elena's] gaze, and Mama Elena lowered hers […]
without words, they made their mutual reproaches and thereby severed the strong tie of blood and obedience that had always bound them together" […].
(7, 440-441)

It had been a long time coming, but ch-ch-changes are bound to happen in the midst of a Revolution.

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