Study Guide

Like Water for Chocolate Tradition/Society

By Laura Esquivel

Tradition/Society

"You know perfectly well that being the youngest daughter means you have to take care of me until the day I die." (1, 22)

This is tradition in the De la Garza family and for better or worse, Tita is the youngest daughter.

"First work, then do as you please, except crying, do you hear?" (5, 352)

Part of tradition in the household is that everyone works, no matter what. When Tita doesn't follow the rules, Mama E gets even more mean than usual.

"Perhaps Nacha only heard what everyone else was afraid to say." (1, 58)

In the society of 1900s Mexico, it was not cool to speak your mind, or cause a scene in any way. The Kardashians wouldn't last a second.

The wedding guests were not just performing a social act, they wanted to observe [Tita's] suffering. (1, 128)

Dang, that's cold. Getting joy out of other people's pain? Watching hungrily from the sidelines at other people's drama and then gossiping about it? It's like us watching Real World or reading People Magazine, or…yikes. Are we guilty of the same charge?

"They say they're going to live in the same house. If I were Mama Elena, I wouldn't allow it." (1, 131)

Umm, okay nosy nellies, who asked your opinion?

"You have blackened the name of my entire family, from my ancestors down to this cursed baby you carry in your belly." (9, 565)

Uh-oh. A curse is not a good thing, especially coming from Mama E. Tita is being blamed for everything, as usual.

Smoking a cigarette, Gertrudis, perfectly at her ease, was regaling them with fantastic stories of the battles she'd been in." (9, 594)

Tell us more, tell us more. We, like society, love a good story, and we just know all of the people are delighted by the scandal Gertrudis causes.

"The truth. The truth. Look, Tita, the simple truth is that the truth does not exist it all depends on a person's point of view." (10,620)

Tell it like it is, Gertrudis. This chica says what nobody else will, and highlights the fact that the whole love triangle thing between Tita, Pedro, and Rosaura has gone on way too long.

"Not until you behave like a good woman, or a decent one at least." (10, 675)

What is a good woman? A decent one? Are the views that much different in the setting of the book from the present day?

"No, you're not going to say anything to him in the first place because I won't allow it, and in the second because I'm not pregnant." (11, 715)

Tita stands up to Pedro, and, if you'll excuse the sexism, wears the pants.