For your final test, you will be responding to one of the following prompts pertaining to the literary lenses. This will be an in-class essay, so it’s a good idea to prepare your thoughts for each question so you’ll be ready to respond in a limited period of time. You will be allowed to use your novel but not your notes for this formal essay.
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 main message of the novel’s conclusion.
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? In Like Water for Chocolate would you describe tradition as a net force for self-actualization of the individual or for repression? What is the novel’s message regarding tradition?
What is it to be a good woman? Like Water for Chocolate presents several models for strong, powerful or otherwise influential women in terms of its developed characters: Mama Elena, Rosaura, Gertrudis and Tita. Which of these characters is the best feminist, in your view, as supported by the textual evidence? Be sure and define your terms in the course of your essay.
There are repeated magic incidents and dream-world or fairy tale-like descriptions of events in Like Water for Chocolate. How does the frequent resorting to “magical realism” shape the reader’s experience of this novel and connect it to a larger romantic pattern or idea?
Your essay must include a thoughtful introduction with a distinct and provable thesis statement, well-developed body paragraphs that are clearly supported with the text, and a meaningful conclusion.