Study Guide

Like Water for Chocolate Chapter 12

By Laura Esquivel

Chapter 12

DECEMBER, Chiles in Walnut Sauce

  • Tita and Chencha are finishing shelling the nuts; they need to crack 1,000 for the wedding banquet.
  • Meanwhile, back at John's house, he washes up and feels satisfied that he will soon be "closer to Tita" (12, 803).
  • Not so satisfied, Pedro can't sleep because "a terrible jealousy gnawed at his entrails" (12,804).
  • We're not sure why Pedro works himself up so much over John, but he wants to go "smash his face in" (12,805).
  • Luckily, he stops at the door, knowing Tita would never forgive him.
  • As Tita finishes shelling the walnuts, she thinks of Rosaura, who has been DEAD FOR A YEAR. Did we miss something?
  • Ah, thank goodness for the flashback… One night after eating dinner, Pedro hears a lot of noises coming from Rosaura's room, noises that shake the floor and cause the lights to blink on and off. When he goes to check on her he finds her "lips purple, body deflated, eyes wild, with a distant look, sighing out her last flatulent breath" (12,810). What a way to go.
  • To add insult to injury, the burial is poorly attended because Rosaura's smell is so awful.
  • But hey, that's life. Tita and Chencha finish the nuts and fill the chilies.
  • The wedding day arrives and who shows up in a model T Ford coupe? Gertrudis, of course.
  • She and Juan are dressed to the nines, and have with them their oldest child, a "fine figure of a mulatto," and Sergeant Trevino, their personal bodyguard since the end of the revolution.
  • Rosaura and Nicholas greet the guests and take the invitations, which were made by Esperanza and Alex.
  • Pedro requests a waltz, "The Eyes of Youth," and dances with Tita.
  • As they dance, Pedro asks Tita to marry him (wait, it's not their wedding? We don't know about you, dear reader, but we were certainly fooled) and that he'd like to have a child with her.
  • Time for a flashback.
  • Alex tries to court a young Esperanza.
  • Rosaura tried to prevent it but when Alex proposes to Esperanza, Pedro and Tita are fully supportive.
  • Cue the BIG REVEAL in the present day: The wedding is for ALEX AND ESPERANZA.
  • Paquita congratulates Tita on her delicious chilies and she's not the only one who's a fan…
  • The dish ignites passion and heat in everyone and they all end up making love anywhere and everywhere. (Everyone except John. Boo.)
  • Chencha goes to village to see her husband and get it on whilst Pedro and Tita go to the dark room, which has been transformed with candles.
  • Their sex is so intense and the climax so good that Pedro literally dies in a state of ecstasy. Okay, we really didn't see that one coming.
  • After he dies, Tita must reignite her fire and eats the box of matches that John gave her.
  • Post-match-eating Tita sees Pedro in a "tunnel" and they climax together. You know, in the afterlife.
  • Their fiery bodies set off sparks and light the dark room on fire.
  • Everyone in the neighboring towns comes to see the show and soon a thick layer of ash covers the entire ranch.
  • Esperanza returns to the ranch (she was in Boston with Alex who has a scholarship from Harvard) and finds Tita's recipe book.
  • In a flash-forward we learn that when Esperanza died, she gave the book to "me"—the narrator of the story, Esperanza's daughter and Tita's great-niece.
  • Today, the narrator's father, Alex, is coming to her house for her birthday.
  • And what, pray tell, is she preparing? CHRISTMAS ROLLS. Boom. Done. El fin.