Study Guide

Like Water for Chocolate Men and Masculinity

By Laura Esquivel

Men and Masculinity

This is a man's world, and we're not surprised, what with a revolution in full swing and a pretty machismo culture. Of course, this is way back in the day. Nowadays in Mexico, men and women are equal…right? Just like men and women are equal in the United States. Right? Hmm. As much as we'd like to believe that all that macho stuff is in the past, we're not quite sure it is. Just look at the books you read in English lit (by male authors), and the movie directors (only one woman has ever won the Oscar for Best Director), and the politicians (have we ever had a female president in the US?)…the list goes on and on. Then again, without women, men wouldn't exist.

Questions About Men and Masculinity

  1. Do you think Mama Elena could be considered macho? Why or why not?
  2. The only man who lives on the ranch is Pedro. Does he have a lot of power?
  3. Mama Elena says at one point she doesn't need a man. Do you think that's true?
  4. Can you find any instances of equality between men and women in Like Water for Chocolate?

Chew on This

Men aren't the cause of suffering in the novel, women are.

The only way to survive in a man's world is to act like a man.