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Literature Study GuidesLike Water For Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate | Study Guide

Laura Esquivel

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Course Hero. "Like Water for Chocolate Study Guide." Course Hero. 26 Sep. 2017. Web. 10 June 2023. <>.

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Course Hero. "Like Water for Chocolate Study Guide." September 26, 2017. Accessed June 10, 2023.


Course Hero, "Like Water for Chocolate Study Guide," September 26, 2017, accessed June 10, 2023,


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Laura Esquivel

Year Published





Drama, Romance

Perspective and Narrator

Like Water for Chocolate begins with a first-person frame narration, when the story is introduced by the great-niece of the main protagonist, Tita. Once the story proper begins, however, it reads as third-person omniscient, with the great-niece silent in the background. Most events are described from Tita's point of view and include her inner thoughts and musings, but the narrator gives the reader glimpses into the thoughts of other characters as well. At the end the frame structure is completed when the great-niece returns to speak the final words. Directions for preparing recipes throughout the novel are presented in second person as instructions to the reader.


The events of Like Water for Chocolate are related in the past tense, although instructions for recipes appear in the present tense.

About the Title

At one point in Like Water for Chocolate, the protagonist, Tita, is described as being so angry that she is literally "like water for chocolate"—she is on the verge of boiling over. This translation of the common Spanish idiom, como agua para chocolate, means "very angry." It refers to the use of near-boiling water, not milk, to make hot chocolate. The phrase also can have a more sexual meaning based on the idea that the water must be hot enough to receive the chocolate. The implication is that Tita and women like her must be in a heightened sexual state to receive their lovers. The subtitle, A Novel in Monthly Installments, with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies is a nod to the book's structure, based on a 19th-century tradition in Mexican women's literature. The format of those books mixed recipes and stories about domestic life with guidelines for moral living and sometimes included a calendar of holy days.


This study guide and infographic for Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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