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The Use of Magical Realism in Like Water For Chocolate

Authors have many devices that they can use to generate certain effects and feelings in the readers. In the novel, Like Water for Chocolate, the author Laura Esquivel takes advantage of magical realism and uses this device to inspire reality and illusion throughout her story. There are many instances of magical realism in this novel. There are several main occurrences of magical realism in this novel. Each one evokes a different reaction. First, magical realism is found in the love and sex of the main characters. Secondly, Esquivel uses food. Food in this story has its own power and causes the characters to have it. Lastly, there are ghosts that provide a spiritualistic sense of realism. Magical realism is intertwined and contributes to the novel in an important way.

In the tenth chapter, also known as October, Tita is pregnant and is very worried about her family’s reaction towards this. The reaction she is most concerned about is her mothers because it is pregnancy out of wedlock. Her emotions are taking control of her daily activities and she is unstable. She wants and wishes she could just stop being pregnant and take control of her life. Magically, she sheds her pregnancy. There is magical realism in losing a child because it was removed due to the negative impact it would have had. Also, it might have been irony and fate that the nurturer of the novel is stripped of her child. Mother Elena did not want her to love and the only thing she wanted her to nurture was her (the mother). The fears that Tita contained from mother Elena and the communities’ opinions of her actions stunt her ability to flourish as a person and strip her of her identity and her child. Fears cannot remove a child but the aspect of magical realism allows it to become reality.

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Another part of the story that was affected by magical realism is the food. In this story, food has a remarkable effect on the characters. In chapter 3 (March), the meal that was prepared had an overwhelming effect on all of the people who ate it. The dish, which was quail in rose petal sauce, had the emotions of Nancha and Tita included. The meal created an irresistible sexual desire. Gertrudis was covered in pink sweat and smelled like roses. This magical realism shows how the food had an effect that’s unexplainable over the family. The imagery shows the magical realism coming from the food, with the pink sweat and rose scents. The feelings in the meal are transformed and come out in the bodies of the family and guests. Sexual acts were performed by all of the members who ate the meal.

Another part of the life of Tita that contained some magical realism is at the end of the book. The final chapter (December) contained two types of magical realism. One type was once again involved with love and sex. The other type deals with ghosts and Nanchas’ appearance. The type of love that Pedro and Tita had for one another was indescribable, yet it was signified in this last chapter. When they were finally able to make love with one another without any worries, all emotions erupted. Pedro’s heartbeat so fast it stopped and Tita wished she could die with him. The magical realism is their emotions had burned up inside them. Like matches and candles, they both entered the tunnel of light with their emotions burned up. The use of magical realism brings their type of death closer to reality and not just an illusion. The use of magical realism also leads to the use of the ghost.

Nanchang ghost lights the candles that surrounded Pedro and Tita while performing their act of love. Nanoha had been dead for some time and her ghost goes to show just how much Nancha loved Tita and she would do anything for her. The ghost is used to express to the reader that love was an important theme throughout the novel and it carries on into the afterlife. The magical realism of her ghosts, ties the tunnel of light and life after death altogether, letting the reader know that Tita and Pedro will live happily in another form. Laura Esquivel shows the lives of the Spanish family in ways that seem unreal. That was her objective. The different aspects of Titas life are all shown with remarkable outcomes. This magical realism creates a bond between the unreal spiritual side and the more concrete, realistic world that Tita endures. The real world in chapter ten shows Titas problems. She can’t endure what her mother would say about her being pregnant. It bothers her to no end until magical realism comes into play.

Magically the child is removed and she is no longer pregnant. Her feelings took control of nature and changed it. In chapter three it is shown how food can have more than one effect. The meal prepared with more emotion than usual took control of the family and guests. Everyone who ate it was overwhelmed with sexual desire. Titas feelings basically came out in the meal. Finally, Esquivel shows how passion can show the link between spirit and reality. The passion or Nancha for Tita and Pedro to love one another is shown as her ghost lights candles. Tita and Pedro hold nothing back and their lives end because of their “burning” love for one another. Magical realism, which is shown through food, love and ghosts, all help create the feeling that emotions are dominant in Titas world. Everything that happens is due to her feeling at the moment. Her feelings and the world she lives in are bridged with the use of magical realism.

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The Use of Magical Realism in Like Water For Chocolate. (2021, Apr 14). Retrieved May 9, 2021, from