The Paradox of Confinement and Freedom in a Doll's House and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

1622 Words Jul 15th, 2005 7 Pages
In the texts, A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, Nora Helmer and Tita (Josefita) are subject to the paradox of confinement and freedom. Tita is restricted to the ranch and kitchen, and Nora to the house. Concurrently, in the seclusion of the kitchen, Tita is liberated from Mama Elena's control, has freedom of self-expression through cooking, and can openly express her feelings. Josefita is a skilled cook with mystical abilities, and also has some freedom and control in the household. Both characters are victims of role-play. Tita has the role of housewife and Nora is a mother, wife, and dependent. Nora finds freedom in her debt, which gives her a sense of authority and control. The …show more content…
It was all the more insidious for seeming so attractive: a doll's house that had to be exposed, even if violently, as a prison of the human spirit.' (‘Realism and A Doll's House')

In Like Water for Chocolate, Mama Elena confines Tita to the kitchen and the ranch and imposes the family tradition ("curse") on her. As a part of the family "curse", she can never marry Pedro to whom she is sexually attracted and has known since childhood. Mama Elena is resentful of her relationship with Pedro and deliberately marries off Rosaura, her sister, to him. ‘Pedro's and Rosaura's marriage had left Tita broken in both heart and mind, like the quail.'(Esquivel p47) According to Dr. Rose Lucas of The University of South Central Queensland ‘[Tita] knows how to stimulate and satisfy the appetite…though she is forbidden from being part of either the appetite or its satiation.' Esquivel links food very closely to love and suffering. Forbidden to reveal her love for Pedro, Tita's strong emotions of suffering transmit through her dishes and ‘her finest recipes [come] from [these] [periods] of suffering(Esquivel, p64).'

Paradoxically, for Tita, detainment to the kitchen is a freedom because it is a Mama Elena-free zone. Here she avoids her mother who is mercilessly cruel to her, slowly, agonizingly, tearing her apart. Here she delights in freely

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