The irony of Tita and Clara’s means of refuge in Like Water for Chocolate and House of the Spirits As humans we have had different methods of coping with pain and sorrow. Some find happiness in alcohol, sex, or by partying while others simply find joy in writing, drawing, through cooking, or by singing. Whatever the case maybe, we escape to a place, a place of comfort where no one can hurt us. However, a few rare exceptions may occur where our sanctuary, the place where we may find sacred, ends up causing us the greatest amount of misery.
Tita in Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Clara in House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende are the epitome of how their means of refuge has caused them hurt. I am going to demonstrate the irony of Tita’s submission in food, as well as the irony of Clara’s isolation with the spirits. Neither a stab in the heart or death can be as harmful to a person as to hear terrible news in a place of refuge. Throughout Tita’s childhood, she never experiences feelings of melancholy while she cooks.
From birth, she develops a deep love for the kitchen and knows that only when she is cooking will she be able to experience the delights of life. Although the kitchen and all the joys within it had only brought her happiness for as long as she could remember, this rapidly changes when Tita discovers that Pedro will marry Rosaura while making Christmas rolls. The fact that she is told about their wedding while she bakes is ironic because the kitchen has been a place of comfort for her for such a long time, but it is in this exact place where she is now experiencing the greatest amount of pain.
Esquivel’s decision to illustrate this shows that the things we love hurts us the most since Tita is in the kitchen is where she emotionally dies. “[As] Tita [finished] wrapping the next day’s rolls, Mama Elena came into the kitchen and informed them that she had agreed to Pedro’s marriage-to Rosaura. ” With this, one can interpret that the only reason Tita is bombarded by an enormous amount of misery has to do with the place where she is hears the heartbreaking news. We as humans tend to release all of our senses when we experience pleasure, happiness, and love, and we become weak when we are doing something we enjoy.
Esquivel chose to incorporate Tita’s emotions to the setting to appeal to the reader’s emotions and to help us understand what Tita is feeling. Since Esquivel knew that at one point of our life we all felt like this, she chose to help the reader relate to Tita in order to understand the overall novel. Even though Clara’s situation is quite different because she is not told hurtful news while she is being clairvoyant, instead it is because of her clairvoyance that she feels pain, both the characters of Tita and Clara experience emotional injuries from the things that they enjoy doing the most.
When Clara foresees Rosa’s death and it proves to be true, Clara blames herself for it. “She believed that just as the power of her mind she could move the saltcellar on the table, she could also produce deaths, earthquakes, and other, even worse catastrophes. ” Because Clara is used to predicting events that could help people rather than to kill them, her first instinct is to feel guilt and hate herself for causing the death of someone whom she loves. This is ironic because Clara loves to use her clairvoyance in order to help people; instead with this prophecy she hurts many people including herself.
This type of suffering derives when we feel guilty about something that happened that was far beyond our control, but by blaming ourselves eases the pain. The fact that Clara chooses to blame herself shows the innocence she has. Allende chose to portray Clara this way to show the reader that Clara is an innocent person who is willing to confine herself to silence and leave all of the worldly pleasures of a child. In a way it is almost as if Clara is punishing herself this way. Nothing in the world can compare to the way one feels when they are in love.
Although food and the spirits make both Tita and Clara happy, it is because of the things that they love, the reason why they do not ever experience true love. Even though Pedro is Tita’s true love, their love is forbidden and is never able to love him until Rosaura dies. There is so much that glee hobbies can bring to a person. Just like when people say that materialistic things brings them happiness, that happiness does not truly mean anything if that person does not have anyone to share it with.
After finding out about Rosaura and Pedro’s wedding, Tita’s feelings change about cooking, and she is never able to uphold the same glorious joy she used to feel. Ever since then, her food only became a reminder of the love that is forbidden to her by Mama Elena. The fact that food is now a horrible reminder of Tita’s broken heart is ironic because cooking used to only bring her pleasure. An illustration of how food hurts Tita is when Gertrudis becomes aroused by the quail in rose petal sauce Tita makes and runs off with Juan on a horse, this akes Tita back to the passion Pedro and her have. “Like silent spectators to a movie, Pedro and Tita began to cry watching the stars act out the love that [is] denied to them. ” Esquivel’s chose to describe Gertrudis and Juan as actors because their script was given to Gertrudis when she ate the quail. The quail transmitted Tita and Pedro’s sexual frustration, their emissive passion, and love. After everything that Tita has gone through, it is fair to say that she is a very strong person.
Although it may not seem this way she is a strong because every day she deals with the pain of never being able to love. The way Tita is able to cope with the misery she feels compares to the way we all cope with difficult memories. All of our brains store good and bad memories, however it is the way we use our memories and if we let the bad ones destroy us or not that determines the type of person we are. In this case, Tita although faced with problems does not let them devour her life. The fact that Tita is strong is an irony within itself because women in this novel are viewed as weak.
Her strength is not physical, but mental. Also, the reason Allende focuses so much on the suffering Tita feels because she wants to show how pointless traditions are and may destroy a person’s family because it is because of tradition that Tita and Pedro can not get married. Clara is never forbidden to love, however the only reason why she does not search for it is because she sees her future and knows that she has to marry Esteban Trueba. “…she had seen her own destiny…[and] she had already made up her mind to marry without love. This is ironic because when people think about a psychic many people may think that a person who is able to communicate with the spirits will ask for love, however Clara does not want this. Throughout the novel, Clara lives a life devoted to the spirits. Allende chose to display Clara this way to illustrate that she is a spiritual person that believes in the afterlife. Although Clara has a joyous spiritual life, she is not truly happy while she is with Esteban and even refuses to talk to him after he hits her.
The common aspect Tita and Clara both share is perhaps, if they would have found love, the plot of the story in LWFC and HOTS would be different. Tita de la Garza in LFWC and Clara Trueba in HOTS are both strong characters who face challenges throughout the novel. However, they do not stop doing the things that they love to do. Tita never gives up cooking and Clara never stops using her clairvoyance. The fact that they chose to confine in cooking or with the outside world is ironic in that by doing the things that may think brings them happiness, in reality their joy is only temporary. Word Count: 1, 422