Study Guide

Like Water for Chocolate Chapter 7

By Laura Esquivel

Chapter 7

JULY, Ox-Tail Soup

  • And we're back to food recipes.
  • "Soups can cure any illness, whether physical or mental" (7,416); with that logic, Chencha brings a steaming bowl of ox-tail soup to Tita.
  • When Chencha arrived at Dr. B's house, Tita was sitting at the window, watching Alex (John's son).
  • Soup. Tita smells it before Dr. B and Chencha enter her room.
  • Reunited and it feels so good. The women eat, they cry, they share memories.
  • Tita cries so much a stream of tears runs down the stairs.
  • Dr. B, alarmed, makes like he's going to leave and Tita speaks for the first time in months:
  • "John. Please don't leave" (7,425).
  • Tita and Chencha gossip and some interesting things are revealed: Mama E had forbidden visits to Tita; Mama E would never forgive Tita for blaming Roberto's death on her; Gertrudis was working in a brothel and she sent a letter to Tita.
  • Tita tells Chencha that she will never go back to the ranch.
  • Chencha leaves; as she crosses the border between the U.S. and Mexico, she wonders what to tell Mama E.
  • Chencha thinks Tita will be sad and "tortured" all alone with John, but not so: Tita is happy and John proposes.
  • Unfortunately, Chencha never gets to tell her story; a group of bandits attacks the ranch the night she arrives—she's raped and Mama E's beaten and left paralyzed from the waist down. (Talk about a horrible homecoming.)
  • Tita returns to the ranch after hearing about the incident.
  • Tita makes her mom some soup and when she tries it she immediately spits it out.
  • Tita can't believe it (really?) and wishes she was back with John.
  • Sometimes wishes do come true—just as Tita runs out of the room, John arrives.
  • Paranoid much? When John asks Mama E why she won't eat, she claims Tita is trying to poison her.
  • John tries the soup but she still refuses to eat it and demands a "good cook."
  • John says Tita is the best and one day he'll ask for her hand in marriage.
  • Oops. Somebody forgot that Mama E gets pissed when there's the threat of Tita leaving her.
  • After John's comment, Mama E realizes that there's something between them and that Tita is determined to kill her—and never again will she eat her daughter's food.
  • Big whoop. Tita doesn't care; now she has more time to work on her trousseau.
  • Poor Chencha has to take over the cooking and serving for Mama E.
  • The day Chencha gets her stitches removed from the rape Tita has no choice but to cook for Mama E.
  • But she can't be fooled. She kicks Chencha out for trying to trick her.
  • Referring to her rape, Chencha tells Tita that no man will "eat off a plate that isn't clean" (7,473).
  • It's hiring time at the ranch and Tita searches in vain for a cook—they all quit. What a surprise.
  • In the end, there's nothing and Mama E must eat Tita's food.
  • After a long fight, Mama E dies; she was secretly taking syrup of ipecac. Why, we're not sure. Unhappy? Knew she'd die anyway? Had nothing else to live for?
  • While dressing Mama E for the wake, Tita finds a heart-shaped locket around her neck with a tiny key inside.
  • In a flashback to childhood, Tita finds a box in her mom's closet that can only be opened with a key.
  • Turns out the tiny key opens the box and inside there is a diary and love letters.
  • Hard to believe but it's true—they're from a Mr. Jose Trevino, a mulatto (oh, the intrigue).
  • When her parents discovered their love, they forced her to marry Juan De la Garza, Tita's father.
  • Scandalous. Mama E and Jose kept seeing each other and have a baby…Gertrudis.
  • Mama E planned to run away with Jose after she found out she was preggers with Gertrudis but while waiting for him, he was killed.
  • Talk about emo; Mama E resigns herself to her unhappy life.
  • When Juan finds out he'll be a father again, he went to a bar to celebrate.
  • Mid-drink, someone spilled the beans about his unfaithful wife and he has a heart attack and dies on the spot. The truth kills, apparently.
  • Back in the present, Tita cries for her mom for the first time ever.
  • At the funeral, Tita sees and embraces Rosaura, who is pregnant again, and Pedro.
  • John and Tita hold hands on the way back to the ranch and Pedro watches jealously; apparently, Tita "belonged" to him. Machismo, anyone? Anyone?