Illicit love is a forbidden affection toward someone, whose destiny is not to be his or her lover. Despite its connotation, The use of illicit love affair in novels as one of the themes, one finds it rather attractive and interesting. The aim of this paper is to compare the illicit love affairs in Like Water for Chocolate and The House of the Spirits. The subtitle of Laura Esquivel!'s Like Water for Chocolate reads, ! ^0 A novel monthly installments with recipes, romances, and home remedies.! +/- The author begins each chapter with a recipe and continues telling a sensuous story of longing, family obligation, adventures, and unrequited love in food.
Like Water for Chocolate is an enchanting love story set in Piedras Negras, Mexico during the revolution. It combines recipes and romance to portray the compelling story of two lovers kept apart by Mexican tradition. Esquivel creates the intense world of passionate and romantic illicit love between Tita and Pedro in Like Water for Chocolate. The image of the birth of Tita flowing into the world in a flood of tears foretells her fate, the melancholy and yearning for a true love due to the family tradition.
This destiny of Tita becomes true when Pedro, her true love, and Rosa ura, her sister, become engaged. Thus, it is the beginning of the illicit relationship between Tita and Pedro. Tita, whose everyday life revolves around the kitchen, develops a special relationship with food that acts as an outlet to her emotions. Since Tita cannot express the passion directly, she channels her desire for the heat of love and passion into domestic activities that she later transmits her love for Pedro through cooking when she secretly receives a rose from Pedro. Tita prepares quail in rose petal sauce with the rose and this meal affects Tita!'s family. For instance, the meal performs as an aphrodisiac for Gertrudis, Tita!'s second sister, creating in her an insatiable sexual desire.
This passionate emotion transfers through Gertrudis and passes on to Pedro. Esquivel writes, ! ^0 Gertrudis turned to Tita for help, but Tita wasn! t there, even though her body was sitting up quite properly in her chair! |It was as if a strange alchemical process had dissolved her entire being in the rose petal sauce, in the tender flesh of the quails, in the wine, in every one of the meal!'s aromas. That was the way she entered Pedro!'s body, hot, voluptuous, perfumed, totally sensuous.! +/- (Esquivel 52) Captivating ly, Tita!'s emotion of passion is transferred into the food that she prepares for Pedro and makes it possible to communicate their zeal of love through food.
In general, food acts as a factor in which most of the people find their comfort. Esquivel utilizes this fact and twists around to create the function of food as something through which the characters reveal their memories and emotions. The relationship between Mama Elena and a mulatto man represents another illicit love relationship. Even though the mulatto man is a true love for her, she marries other man because of her social status. However, she continues the affair, and she eventually becomes pregnant with Gertrudis. She hides this fact from everyone, however, Tita discovers the truth when she finds the letters that Mama Elena has written as a young woman.
Tita says, ! ^0 Full of morbid curiosity, Tita opened the box. It contained a diary and a packet of letters written to Mama Elena from someone named Jose Trevino. Tita put them in order by date and learned the true story of her mother!'s love.
Jose was the love of her life. She hadn! t been allowed to marry him because he had Negro blood in his veins! |! +/- (Esquivel 137) In the novel, Mama Elena appears to be as an austere and stubborn woman. However, by the discovery of her diary, it creates a whole new different side of Mama Elena!'s. By utilizing the theme of the illicit love between the major characters in the novel, Laura Esquivel builds Like Water for Chocolate as a classic tale of love fueled by a Mexican cuisine.
The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende, is a 50-year-long family story with magical realism and complex love relationships. The novel also deals with the lives of the characters and how they strive for their true loves. Similar to Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, the illicit love affair between the characters appears in the novel such as the relationship between Blanca and Pedro Tercero. However, their love represents the violation of class divisions in the novel. Blanca and Pedro Tercero Garcia builds up a deeper commitment in their relationship despite the great resistance from the family who wants to keep them apart. Although their commitments to each other is very strong, the social barriers between them gets in the way.
The illicit love affairs presented in Like Water for Chocolate and The House of the Spirit share similarities as well as distinctions. Both of the relationships are illicit because the outer forces forbid them due to a morality, tradition, and social status. The relationship between Mama Elena and the mulatto man, in Like Water for Chocolate, and the one of Blanca and Pedro Tercero, in The House of the Spirits, share a great similarity. The social barriers thwart both of the relationships. However, the role of each character in the relationship is somewhat different from each other.
In Like Water for Chocolate, Tita seems to be the passive participitant and Pedro is the one who leads the relationship. It is Pedro!'s gaze that alters Tita!'s sexuality, while her part is merely to let her self to be seen. Thus Tita responses passively to forceful sexual desire of Pedro. In contrast, Blanca and Pedro Tercero seem to be at the same position in their relationship. In conclusion, illicit love affairs are one of the major themes in both novels, Like Water for Chocolate and The House of the Spirits. Esquivel, in Like Water for Chocolate, introduces the illicit love affair between Tita and Pedro, where Tita is a passive participant and Pedro is more like an active one in the relationship.
In The House of the Spirits, Allende introduces the illicit relationship between Blanca and Pedro Tercero. The different social status builds up a barrier between them and the resistances from the outer forces try to separate them apart. However, They both remain strong in their relationship despite the fact that they have to go through some difficult times before they come back together again. One can conclude that whereas the love affair between Tita and Pedro is more like a stereotypical type of relationship due to the fact that a female takes a passive role, Blanca and Pedro Tercero hold the same power in their relationship.