Study Guide

Like Water for Chocolate Violence/Abuse (Physical and Mental)

By Laura Esquivel

Violence/Abuse (Physical and Mental)

From a very early age, Tita experiences a heavy dose of abuse from her mother. She is spanked, beaten, insulted, and berated numerous times throughout the novel. Despite this (or because of it), we think Tita is a pretty tough enchilada. We think violence is used throughout the novel as a form of control, and it's not exclusively a Mama Elena tactic. Look at the soldiers in the Mexican revolution (or any war, for that matter). People often turn to violence when they can't come to an agreement, when they don't know how to communicate. Then again, could we argue that violence is a form of communication?

Questions About Violence/Abuse (Physical and Mental)

  1. Why does Mama Elena only abuse Tita? Why is she so hard on her?
  2. Does Rosaura follow in the path of Mama Elena? How so?
  3. Would you consider Tita to be a passive character? Does she allow herself to be abused?
  4. What do you think the motivations are for Mama Elena's form of parenting?

Chew on This

Violence is a form of communication in the De la Garza household.

Mama Elena, a woman, is more violent than any of the men in Like Water for Chocolate.