Magical Realism in Like Water for Chocolate

*Magical Realism in both* Novel and Film ‘Like Water for Chocolate’

Both novel and the film Like Water for Chocolate relies strongly on the element of magical realism. The presentation of magical realism, however, is different in both texts where in the novel, it is richly applied to further enhances the story; while in the film, magical realism is sometimes neglected, which potentially causes confusion towards audience and hence affecting their understanding towards the story.
In the novel, the author—Esquivel’s employment of magical realism, with its mingling of the fantastic and the real, keeps the story unique yet appealing. For example, in one of the meals, the food acts as an aphrodisiac, and causes Gertrudis to sweat. However, “[h]er sweat was pink, and it smelled like roses, a lovely strong smell.”(53) As she is showering, the water drops have never made it to her body because they have “evaporated before they reached her.” (54) Furthermore, Gertrudis gave off so much heat that “the wooden walls began to split and burst into flame.” (54) The dramatic imagery of the pink sweat, powerful aroma and evaporation of water exemplifies the novel’s magical realism. Although impossible to occur in real life, the details are written so descriptively that it projects a vivid picture in readers’ mind. Esquivel uses her words expressively to further arouse the readers’ two senses—smell and taste. This, correspondingly, reinforces the readers’ image of the story as well as their interests in continuing the plot.
Conversely, the film presents magical realism in a rather confusing way, leaving out details the book so impressively brings to life. The selection above takes up 5 pages of the novel, but is compressed into less than 2 minutes in the film. Not only has the director left out Gertrudis’ pink, rose-scented sweat, but also the part where water has evaporated before it touches her. In the film, it is evidential that water has touched her body, destroying the...