The need to express themselves is the central motivation that drives characters to find meaning in their lives in the books Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert andlike water for chocolate by Laura Esquivel; is this also what leads to their ultimate destruction? Language A1 literature Word literature assignment 1 Word count: 1362Expression of feelings is an arduous task for some while and easy for others. The characters inboth the works express their feelings and emotions through different mediums. In Like Water for
Chocolate, Tita, the protagonist uses food as a medium of expression where as in MadameBovary, Emma uses men for satisfaction. In both the books the characters have used elements toportray their feelings. The strong symbolism used by Laura whatever for depicting grief andemotions through food also shows the love and desire of the character for cooking also making ita part in developing and reflecting the bonds between the characters. On the other hand, Emma,sickened by leading an unsatisfied married life turns out to look towards men for sexualsatisfaction and then for money.In the book „like water for chocolate‟ Tita, the protagonist loves cooking. Tita‟s life is identicalto that of a life of a servant in all practical senses. She has to take care of the house all the timeand also listen to the orders of her mother like a servant and master relation. Her life was havocand to make sense of it she used media‟s like food to express her feelings. Making food forpeople is what made her happy, and throughout her life cooking was the only thing which eggedher on to live. She was born in the kitchen and always stayed in the kitchen throughout heryoung days and hence she might be so connected with food. Tita is defied from voicing heropinions and choices. Tita‟s world revolves around kitchen making the traditional dishes. “Withthat meal it seemed they had discovered a new system of communication, in which Tita was thetransmitter, Pedro the receiver”1 shows how she conveyed her feelings to people while themrealizing it. . Laura Esquivel has used food to describe all that she feels too like “It was then sheunderstood how dough feels when it is plunged into boiling oil. The heat that invaded her bodywas so real she was afraid she would start to bubble-her face, her stomach, her heart, herbreasts-like batter”2.1Henrik Ibsen, Like Water For Chocolate, publisher: anchor books, year:1995, pg no. 522Henrik Ibsen, Like Water For Chocolate, publisher: anchor books, year:1995, pg no. 16
Her action of refusing food and deserting her mother in the book changed her fate completelyand also changed her future. Even though Tita moved out she was helpless against her motherand she left hope for herself. While Dr. John is the man by whom she gains support on her sideand is instrumental in helping Tita recover both physically and psychologically.The need to find herself and express her individuality led to her leaving mama Elena and seekrefuge with Dr. John. And this need to express also led to her coming back home to treat hermother which coincided with Mama Elena‟s sickness. This decision changed her upcoming lifeand also had a role in leading to her death.In the novel Madame Bovary, Emma, has her own way of expressing herself. The feeling ofbeing deserted and not being happy in her married life led to her finding happiness outside hermarried life. Also, the fact that Emma was from a superior class than bourgeoisie, she is not ableto adapt herself to the new surroundings and hence feels deprived. It aggravates her situation ofan unsatisfied married life. It is not that her husband is not capable of making her happy, but shenever tried to express her feeling to him. She never told him that she was not happy by the waythey were living. She sought to go to another man when he openly told her that he wanted her.He is the way through which she expressed the desires she wished to have in a married life. Inthe book the antagonist, Charles mother, knows what she is going through and knows whatEmma will ultimately do, hence she tells Emma to stop reading romantic books. Romantic booksare another way of showing how much she wants that kind of a life. Her belief in romantic booksis the main belief which led to her marriage with Charles as she “before marriage thoughtherself in love”3.3 Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, publisher: penguin classics, year: 1992, pg no. 23
In both the novels the protagonists go against the norms of the society or parent. In like water forchocolate, Tita tries to fit in and listen to her mama Elena‟s every demand. But after a period oftime, she gave up. She stopped trying to express herself through food, for that matter she startedrejecting everything. In Madame Bovary, she thinks different than her social group. She madevarious attempts in the beginning to try to be like the others but her idea of the perfect life wasdifferent than the one she was experiencing, hence leading to her downfall in the end. In both thecases the ways of expression did not help them conquer the very needs of theirs. They made anattempt but in the end either stopped or gave up.The need to express themselves in different ways was needed to highlight the fact that the femalecharacters could not do whatever they wished or desired, hence they used various elements toshow their grief and terrible lifestyle they were stuck in. also, the authors have tried to throwlight on the life of Tita and Emma and the situation they were going through. They were tiedbetween the bonds of marriage, love and other relationships. In the case of Tita, in the marriageor her sister, by the use of magical realism the scene of the wedding cake was created. As whilemaking the cake Tita was at the peak of her sadness the people who ate the food also felt sad.These kind of intense emotions are displayed showing the strength of Tita‟s repressed emotions.Through these mediums only do the characters find the meaning in their lives as for them it isnothing but living according to the society or tradition. Emma is a lady who craves for affectionand for a fairy tale life. After all the troubles she went through in her life until her death, shenever expressed her feelings directly to anyone. Charles loved Emma tremendously, but shenever truly knew her husband, or even loved him. She could also never express this fact to him.This led to her committing adulterous acts, which left her unable to satisfy her feelings, resultingultimately in her suicide. Emma rather, did not try to express her feelings. She assumed Charles
would know what she thought or wanted. This was her fatal flaw which eventually led to herdestruction.By the use of social realism and Emma‟s fantasy we see the contrast in her and the people aroundher which led to her death and in like water for chocolate by the use of magical realism enhancedthe expressions giving it a more fantasizing effect. Emma dies with regret where as Tita dieswith final solace of her soul. Emma chose to express her feelings through a anti-social method,which is justified in her own. She did what she did to find peace by not caring for the society.Tita on the other hand expressed herself by the means of food which is socially accepted and alsoby the novelist‟s use of magical realism, which glorified the facts to a certain extent. The flaw inboth the characters in the books is that of not speaking up their feelings which led to their deathsin different ways. For Tita it was a happy ending. She finally found her true love and her dreamscame true whereas for Emma, her life came crashing down. She never understood that her truelover was with her the entire while and if only she would have conveyed her feelings to him, herlife would have been on a completely different mode.
Bibliography1) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert2) Like water for chocolate by Laura Esquivel