The Presentation of Magical Realism in Laura Esquivel's "Like Water for Chocolate"

Throughout Laura Esquivel’s book several events occur that are of a slightly super-natural nature. Things take place that would not normally happen in a realistic replica of the particular circumstance. The book itself is set during the Mexican civil war, takes us through the life of Tita, who finds true love at a early age but who’s life is systematically ruined by her far-superior mother. Tita seems too have a form of mystical power about her, shown through strange occurrences through her unfortunate life.   Esquivel creates this “magical realism” for several different reasons which I will elaborate in the following points.

The storyline for, “For Water Like Chocolate” is quite realistic in itself and could be easily considered a series of episodes that actually took place during the Mexican civil war. There is strong evidence, though, to show that the book fits more snugly in the “fantasy” genre of “fiction” books. This idea gives Esquivel’s book a uniqueness, helping to exaggerate the emotions that the characters display and aiding the audience to understand better the sub-text of the book, the “hidden feelings” if you will.

The first hint of magical realism in “Like Water For Chocolate”, is on the very first page of chapter 1/January, “when she was till in my great-grandmother’s belly” (from Esperanz’s point of view) “her sobs were so loud that even Nacha, the cook, who was half-deaf, could hear them easily”. Obviously, this is not a major moment where magical realism is used, but it is definitely a situation where the event could not technically occur in real life. A baby cannot even cry, let alone be heard whilst in the womb (except perhaps moments before birth). In actual life this is nonsense, but in “For Water Like Chocolate” the baby was heard crying, “when she was still in the belly”. This idea really helps to exaggerate, in this instance, how much onions affect Tita. These magical realism moments can all be read in more than one way. Tita...