We are family, I got all my sisters with me. Family, la familia, the gang, whatever you want to call them, they're there for better or worse. In the case of the De la Garza clan, family is a major source of pain, suffering, repression, and injustice. To survive, one has to either fight or submit. Kind of like the revolution in Mexico (a backdrop that we'd like to personally tip our hat to), the ranch is a symbolic battlefield for every single member of the family, and a huge source of drama.
Questions About Family
Do you think Mama Elena is justified in her treatment of Tita?
Is Tita like her mother? Why or why not?
Which sister manages to attain freedom, if any?
What role do men play (or not play) in the family in Like Water for Chocolate?
Chew on This
The reason Mama Elena is so hard on Tita is because she doesn't want her to make the same mistakes she made when it comes to family and love.
Tita decides to stay at the ranch for so long because she doesn't know how to live without her mother, or under the rule of her mother.