Study Guide

Like Water for Chocolate Chapter 5

By Laura Esquivel

Chapter 5

MAY, Northern-Style Chorizo

  • It's sad times for Tita; ever since Pedro and company left for San Antonio, she only cares about feeding a helpless pigeon.
  • The ranch is still reeling from a visit from the revolutionary army, which is told in a flashback.
  • Only Mama E, Tita, Chencha, Rosaura, and Guadalupe (the two farmhands) are present; Nicholas had left to buy cattle and Felipe, his son, is in San Antonio to get news of Pedro and his family.
  • Mama E grabs her shotgun and Tita, Chencha, and the pig rush to the cellar to hide.
  • Women, unite. They meet the revolutionaries at the entrance of the house.
  • The captain asks for food and Mama E offers up whatever they like from the corn crib and the stable but she "won't allow [the captain] to touch anything inside [her] house" (5, 298).
  • A frustrated sergeant declares that he'll go search the house anyway.
  • Mama E doesn't mess around. She raises her shotgun and shoots the chickens the sergeant has in his hands, then threatens to kill the captain if they disobey her.
  • "[The soldiers] fell prisoner to a childlike fear of maternal authority" (5,309). Yeah, Mama E is THAT scary.
  • With their tales between their legs, the troop leaves peacefully.
  • Mama E is surprised that they are not the "ruffians" she expected—little does she know that the captain is the same Juan Alejandrez who carried off Gertrudis.
  • Tita comes out of hiding and immediately misses the cooing of the pigeons.
  • Up in the dovecote, she finds a tiny newborn pigeon.
  • Tita secretly wishes that the soldiers had killed her mother…talk about mommy-daughter issues.
  • Back in the present, Tita looks for worms and thinks about Roberto, her nephew.
  • Chencha joins her and forces her to come help with the sausages.
  • Mid-sausage grinding, Mama E comes in, demanding her bath.
  • Like everything with Mama E, nothing is easy. Bath time is a real ordeal and only Tita can perform the "ritual." She's also the only one to see her mom in the nude…what would Freud say, we wonder?
  • This day in particular Tita does everything wrong and is sent away.
  • Tita stuffs the sausages and has a flashback to a hot summer night…
  • Because of the heat, the family sleeps on the patio and they eat cold watermelon to stay cool.
  • Tita gets up to go to the bathroom and Pedro follows her.
  • Finally. Pedro pulls Tita to him and they get into some heavy petting. Rawr.
  • Just as Tita feels Pedro's "red-hot coal that throbbed through his clothes" (5,341), Mama E cries out for Tita.
  • As usual, she suspects something and speeds up the departure of Pedro and his family to San Antonio.
  • Tita's flashback is interrupted by Mama E coming into kitchen, followed by a sobbing Chencha.
  • Chencha tells them that Roberto has died from eating something bad.
  • Tita feels "the household crashing down around her head" (5,351) and stands up.
  • Mama E orders her to keep working.
  • No longer able to take any more abuse, Tita starts screaming and ripping sausages apart.
  • Enraged, Mama E smashes Tita's face with a wooden spoon.
  • Tita blames Mama E for killing Roberto and hides in the dovecote. Mama E removes the ladder so that Tita can't climb down.
  • Desperate to control the situation, Mama E asks Dr. Brown to take Tita to an insane asylum.
  • Dr. B finds Tita with a broken nose, covered in pigeon droppings and naked.
  • Like a knight in shining armor, he takes her away in his carriage.
  • Chencha runs alongside the carriage and tosses Tita's bedspread to her.
  • Goodbye, cruel world. They ride off with the bedspread flapping behind, so long that it stretched for a kilometer.
  • "TO BE CONTINUED…"