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Like Water for Chocolate | Study Guide

Laura Esquivel

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Like Water for Chocolate | Quotes


You don't have an opinion, and that's all I want to hear about it.

Mama Elena, Chapter 1

When Tita dares to question the tradition that requires the youngest daughter to remain unmarried and care for her mother, Mama Elena lets her know that what she thinks doesn't matter.


Mama Elena took comfort in the hope that she had finally managed to subdue her youngest daughter.

Narrator, Chapter 1

After several attempts by Tita to fight the family tradition, Mama Elena believes she has finally removed those thoughts from her daughter's mind.


She was not meant for the loser's role.

Narrator, Chapter 2

Aware of the malicious gossip of the guests at her sister's wedding, Tita reflects she had never been meant to take second place to anyone. Even as a child she was the equal of boys and often even stronger than them.


Just as a poet plays with words, Tita juggled ingredients.

Narrator, Chapter 4

The narrator, Tita's great-niece, uses this phrase to help readers understand Tita's artistry with food. It also refers to the ability of both a writer and a chef to express emotions and passion through what they create.


I've never needed a man for anything; all by myself, I've done all right.

Mama Elena, Chapter 4

Mama Elena rejects the idea she needs help running the ranch after her husband dies. This, however, may also be her way of coming to terms with the fact that she was not allowed to marry the one man she truly loved and desperately needed.


Tita knew through her own flesh how fire transforms the elements.

Narrator, Chapter 4

Tita has this thought after a lustful gaze from Pedro makes her feel as though her breasts have known a man's touch.


When it came to dividing, dismantling, dismembering ... dispossessing, destroying, or dominating, Mama Elena was a pro.

Narrator, Chapter 5

Although the narrator is referring to Mama Elena's skill with dismantling a watermelon, the observation also describes her force and her ability to destroy people.


Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can't strike them all by ourselves.

John Brown, Chapter 6

John Brown uses this analogy to explain to Tita that, like a match, a person cannot be truly alive until her flame is lit by the things she is passionate about, along with the breath of the one who loves her.


She swore in front of Mama Elena's tomb that come what may, she would never renounce love.

Narrator, Chapter 7

Tita makes this vow after realizing that her mother, too, had been forced to give up the love of her life.


When the talk turns to eating ... only fools and sick men don't give it the attention it deserves.

Narrator, Chapter 8

The narrator humorously explains how even a heated argument can be cooled by the appearance of food. She also seems to be acknowledging that food is central to life and both the sustenance and pleasure it brings give it priority over just about everything else.


Tita was literally "like water for chocolate"—she was on the verge of boiling over.

Narrator, Chapter 8

Tita feels a violent rage when she realizes Rosaura intends to make Esperanza follow the family tradition and be a caretaker to her mother. The sexual meaning of the phrase may also play a part since Tita realizes being a caretaker would never allow Esperanza to experience true passion.


The simple truth is that the truth does not exist.

Gertrudis De la Garza, Chapter 10

As Tita agonizes over the moral dilemma created by her love for Pedro, Gertrudis tells her there is no one truth. Instead what is right or wrong depends on one's situation and point of view.


With a little imagination and a full heart one can always prepare a decent meal.

Narrator, Chapter 11

Tita has little to offer John Brown and his aunt when they return from America, but her affection and gratitude for John enable her to turn simple ingredients into a delicious meal. The author is also suggesting it doesn't take much to make another person happy as long as what is offered is given with love. The metaphor of food is once again being used to make an important statement about life.


Some things in life ... shouldn't be given ... importance, if they don't change what is essential.

John Brown, Chapter 11

With these words John tells Tita that even her affair with Pedro would not change John's mind about marrying her as long as she still loved him.


Tita ... taught her ... the secrets of love and life as revealed by the kitchen.

Narrator, Chapter 12

Even as Rosaura tries to exert her control over Esperanza, Tita is able to teach the girl what really matters in life, as represented by the mystical workings of the kitchen as a nourishing part of life and also art.

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