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Sublime Elements in Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

The novel Like Water for Chocolate, published in 1989, was written by Laura Esquivel who is of Spanish heritage. She lives in Mexico, and Like Water for Chocolate was her first novel. I feel that in the story Laura Esquivel gives a lot of magical elements that are treated as real in order to evoke emotions about love, but it also employs many features of sublime literature.

In Like Water for Chocolate, a girl named Tita was born. When she was first born, it mentions that she was literally washed into this world on a great tide of tears that spilled over the edge of the table and flooded across the kitchen floor (6). This occurrence appears to be a magical element rather than the sublime. A baby cannot be washed into the world. Therefore, I feel that it is magical.

Another magical realist element is that when Tita was born, Nacha swept up the residue the tears had left on the red stone floor. On the floor was enough salt to fill a ten-pound sack that was used for cooking and lasted a long time (7). This element is more magical than sublime because this happening can not occur. However, it is a good example of sublime literature because it illustrates Longinus’ notion of accumulation as a feature of sublime language. The salt from Tita’s birth definitely dealt with accumulation.

In addition, in Like Water for Chocolate, when Tita was making her sister Rosaura’s wedding cake a magical element occurred. She was making her sister’s wedding cake, and at the same time, she was thinking of Pedro with whom she was in love with and who was marrying her sister. As she was thinking of Pedro, she began to cry. While she was crying, a tear drop went into the cake, and she was afraid that it messed up the meringue. The moment…

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…elements. I did not notice many realist elements in the story Like Water for Chocolate. However, the realist elements did not relate to the sublime as well as the magical elements did. That the sublime is not used as much in writing. I feel that the sublime needs to be more fulfilled for people to understand it better. There are many articles that a person can find on the sublime, and it would be a new, enjoyable experience to learn some information on something new in life.

Works Cited

Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate. New York. Doubleday, 1989.

Simpkins, Scott. “Sources of Magic Realism/Supplements to Realism in Contemporary Latin American Literature.” Magical Realism. Theory, History,

Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris. Durkham, N. C: Duke UP, 1995, 150.

Longinus. On the Sublime. Cambridge. Harvard UP, 1995.

Magical Realism and Fantastic Sublime in Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate

Magical Realism and Fantastic Sublime in Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate

The different elements of the story Like Water for Chocolate are amazing. The feelings that go through a person upon listening, watching, and tasting events that happen during this story of the Spanish family’s lives. The customs of this family were so unorthodox. This story is fantastic sublime and magical realism combined. Laura Esquivel wrote this novel in 1992. The nationality of the people in the novel was Mexican. A person can tell by the way expressions were made and the things that were done in the story. The novel has many fantastic sublime elements as well as magical realism. The elements of the story that stick out in a person’s mind are the birth of Tita, the feelings of the love that Tita has in her heart for her sister’s husband, Tita’s cooking, the shower catching on fire, and Tita’s sister riding off on a horse.

Upon the birth of Tita, her mother flooded the kitchen table and floor when her water broke. The fluid had turned to salt and had to be swept up off the floor. This type of thing happening in the real world is not going to happen. The fluid turning into the salt was definitely a magical realism element. The fluid from the birth drying up like salt is similar to the sublime. The mysteries of cooking are treated in Like Water for Chocolate. The sublime seems to have a definition of being inhuman, an image that cannot be named. The magical realism has the definition of being magical and unreal.

Tita’s love she had for her sister’s husband upon their marriage and through out the time of their marriage and lives. Tita’s love never changed. It was the magical way Tita felt in her heart about the man she loved and the …

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…is really hard to distinguish the difference between the two. The hidden mysteries in the story of Like Water for Chocolate seem to never show the real meanings. The novel is interesting and keeps a person on his or her toes. The main point in the story is the boiling point that a person has inside will eventually boil over, given enough time. Emotions run high through out the story as well as the way each and everyone deal with the way the emotions come out.

Works Cited

Arensberg, Mary. The American Sublime. Albany: State University of New York Press, Albany 1986.

Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate. N.Y. Doubleday, 1992.

Faris, Wendy. “Scheherazade’s Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction” Magical Realism Theory, History, Community.

Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris. Durkham, N.C.: Durham: Duke up, 1995: 163-190.

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