|Like Water for Chocolate Essay
You will write a formal literary analysis of Like Water for Chocolate using one specific critical lens.
Using the notes you have taken while reading the book, the Socratic seminar discussion points, and the questions and discussions that formed within your small groups, clearly define the critical lens used and develop your interpretation with textual evidence. Use the following prompts as your guide and make sure to examine at least two of the following literary elements in your interpretation: characterization, language, setting, conflict, or theme.
There are repeated magical incidents and dream-world or fairy tale-like descriptions of events in Like Water for Chocolate. How does the frequent use of magical realism, work (or not work) to get to the heart of human experience and help the reader to understand and explore the universal experiences of humans portrayed in the book?
Like Water for Chocolate is a novel that is densely populated with women, and each woman represents a distinct version of femininity. Some women are clever and rebellious, others are doting and domestic, and others simply fit no describable mold. Select two or more characters and write a character analysis that supports your belief that Like Water for Chocolate is or is not a feminist novel. In order to defend your belief, you will need to define what a feminist novel is; you may wish to do so by incorporating critical source material or by offering your own thoughtful definition.
a. Food and its preparation is a central organizing metaphor in Like Water for Chocolate. Discuss the symbolic significance of cooking as it is developed over the course of the novel and explain how the working out of this conceit reinforces the theme of the novel.
b. One of the many unique aspects of Like Water for Chocolate is the structure of the novel. Each chapter is presented as a monthly installment, named for a month. Each of these monthly installments opens with a traditional recipe that emphasizes the centrality of Mexican culture to the text. Explore and assess the benefits and potential disadvantages of Esquivel having written the novel using this particular format. If you feel that this structure strengthens the novel’s appeal and the story itself, then explain why. If you feel that the structure is somehow confusing or distracting, explain why.
Tradition is an indispensable force in the functioning of any human society. Without tradition, we would have to invent a meaning for each new situation. What is the role of tradition in the interactions of the De la Garza family and in the novel as a whole? In Like Water for Chocolate does tradition lead to the self-actualization (“the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming,” as defined by psychologist Abraham Maslow) of the individual, or does it repress the individual?
Your thesis must be approved by me.
Attached is the rubric I will use to assess your essays. Make sure you have met or exceeded all criteria.
The rubric is from Winthrop University’s Professor Josephine Koster. http://faculty.winthrop.edu/kosterj/500Rubric.pdf