Like Water for Chocolate

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John is the De la Garza’s family doctor and Tita’s fiancée. John is a widower and the father of Alex Brown. He is of mixed heritage, as the grandson of North-American immigrants and of Morning Light, a Kikapu woman. He rescues Tita from Mama Elena’s abuse, and brings her to live with him. He falls in love with her and they become engaged. Tita leaves him to be with Pedro, but John remains in love with her. He is gracious, open-minded, and generous.

Dr. John Brown Quotes in Like Water for Chocolate

The Like Water for Chocolate quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. John Brown or refer to Dr. John Brown. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Anchor Books edition of Like Water for Chocolate published in 1995.
Chapter 6: June Quotes

You must of course take care to light the matches one at a time. If a powerful emotion should ignite them all at once, they would produce a splendor so dazzling that it would illuminate far beyond what we can normally see; and then a brilliant tunnel would appear before our eyes, revealing the path we forgot the moment we were born, and summoning us to regain the divine origin we had lost. The soul ever longs to return to the place from which it came, leaving the body lifeless.

Related Characters: Dr. John Brown (speaker), Tita de la Garza, Morning Light/ “The Old Indian Woman”/ “The Kikapu”
Related Symbols: Heat and Fire
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

While sitting in his laboratory with Tita, John teaches her how to make matches from phosphorous. He also explains to her the philosophy of love he learned from his grandmother, Morning Light. According to her, each human carries a box matches inside them. A loved one’s breath is the oxygen, and any kind of music, food, or other sensory experience that moves human emotions is the candle. When a loved one’s breath is combined with such a sensory experience, one of the matches is lit.

Here, John explains what will happen if “all of the matches are lit at once.” This situation represents the consummation of the right love under perfect circumstances. According to Morning Light, the human need for love is associated with the human desire for the soul to “return to the place from which it came.” In her theory, love is a spiritual relationship that is essential to the journey of the soul through life. Experiences of love aren’t unique events, but regular occurrences that keep the soul warmed and drive humans forward. True love also isn’t peaceful in its nature, but thrives on fire – a volatile and dangerous element. If all of one’s inner flames are lit at once – if a person feels and expresses love at its fullest capacity – the soul reaches a state that resembles enlightenment or heaven, and leaves the body “lifeless.”

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Chapter 7: July Quotes

Tita was beginning to wonder if the feeling of peace and security that John gave her wasn’t true love, and not the agitation and anxiety she felt when she was with Pedro.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Tita de la Garza, Pedro Musquiz , Dr. John Brown
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:

After the bandits leave Mama Elena paralyzed, Tita returns home to the ranch to care for her. While enduring her mother’s cruelty once again, Tita finds immense support and comfort in John’s companionship. John brings Tita a sense of balance and calm, which she needs during difficult times. In contrast, Pedro’s love always excites Tita, both sexually and emotionally. The excitement and anxiety she feels around Pedro is amplified even more by the consequences she faces if she acts on that forbidden love.

John represents a different kind of love and masculinity than Pedro. John offers security, whereas Pedro represents danger. John’s supportive nature makes him appear more as a friend/caregiver, like Chencha or Nacha, and thereby imbues him with more traditionally feminine characteristics. Pedro relates to Tita on a more deeply sexual level, and he is rarely depicted as soothing or supportive. In Pedro, Tita finds “agitation” – a feeling of stimulation so strong that it can be upsetting.

Chapter 11: November Quotes

Tita, it doesn’t matter to me what you did, there are some things in life that shouldn’t be given so much importance, if they don’t change what is essential. What you’ve told me hasn’t changed the way I think; I’ll say again, I would be delighted to be your companion for the rest of your life – but you must think over very carefully whether I am the man for you or not. If your answer is yes, we will celebrate our wedding in a few days. If it’s no, I will be the first to congratulate Pedro and ask him to give you the respect you deserve.

Related Characters: Dr. John Brown (speaker), Tita de la Garza, Pedro Musquiz
Page Number: 223
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Tita reveals to John that she has lost her virginity to another man (Pedro). With great emotion, she explains her actions as the reason why she can no longer marry John. She expects that knowing the truth, he will make the difficult decision to end their engagement for her. John refuses to accept Tita’s reasoning, however, which is based off of society’s expectations of female chastity. It “doesn’t matter” to John whether or not Tita is a virgin, and even more, it doesn’t matter to him that she has been unfaithful. He acknowledges Tita’s agency and gives her back the power to choose between lovers, putting her future entirely in her hands.

In contrast with Pedro, who is jealous and possessive of Tita, John doesn’t allow his personal feeling of hurt to give him a sense of ownership over Tita. Any human would be hurt, but John doesn’t want Tita to act out of a sense of shame, guilt, or obligation. His sustained desire to be with her reflects his feminist thinking, further casting him as a character with a progressive and individualistic moral sense.

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Dr. John Brown Character Timeline in Like Water for Chocolate

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. John Brown appears in Like Water for Chocolate. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: April - “Turkey Mole with Almonds and Sesame Seeds”
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Rosaura goes into labor, and Pedro goes to get Dr. Brown . Mama Elena and Chencha travel to get supplies they will need for the baby,... (full context)
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Dr. John Brown arrives the next day and examines Rosaura, revealing that Roberto’s birth was very high... (full context)
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At Roberto’s baptism, Dr. Brown compliments Tita on how beautiful she looks holding the baby. Tita is unbothered by his... (full context)
Chapter 5: May – “Northern Style Chorizo”
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...staring into space, trying to feed worms to her dead baby pigeon. Mama Elena calls Dr. Brown to take Tita to an insane asylum. He arrives and takes Tita with him. Crying,... (full context)
Chapter 6: June – “A Recipe for Making Matches”
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...watching as he makes matches from wood strips and phosphorous. Instead of obeying Mama Elena, John Brown brought Tita to live with him and his small child, Alex. John had been... (full context)
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...room where Tita watched the old woman cook transforms into the laboratory where she watches John perform his experiments. Tita doesn’t question this transformation in her perception of reality. John tells... (full context)
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While teaching Tita to make matches using phosphorous, John explains the philosophy of Morning Light. Everyone has a box of matches inside their soul.... (full context)
Chapter 7: July – “Ox-Tail Soup”
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...Tita. The two women cry in each other’s arms, creating a stream that flows through John’s house. They eat, laughing and reliving old memories, and Tita feels Nacha’s presence. John notices... (full context)
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After Chencha leaves, John takes Tita to an elegant party, where he unofficially proposes marriage to her. Tita thinks... (full context)
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...anyone could be so wicked even when cared for so lovingly. Tita plans to marry John, on whom she relies to continue to “rekindle her spirit.” (full context)
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...on her mother’s grave never to forsake true love, which she believes she feels for John Brown. At that moment, Tita is surprised to see Pedro and a fully pregnant Rosaura... (full context)
Chapter 8: August – “Champandongo”
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...her baby niece to smell. Esperanza was born three months before, premature from Rosaura’s grief. John performed the dangerous delivery, which required an operation removing Rosaura’s uterus. Pedro wanted to name... (full context)
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...explains that Tita is in a bad mood, even though she should feel happy because John is coming over to officially propose marriage. Tita has been fighting with Pedro, who has... (full context)
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...her between the shower boards. She runs to her room. While getting dressed, she hears John arrive, and then hears him and Pedro arguing about politics (though no details are given).... (full context)
Chapter 9: September – “Chocolate and Three Kings’ Day Bread”
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...She feels her life is ruined, and she plans to call off her wedding to John and find a place far away where she can have the baby without Rosaura’s knowledge. (full context)
Chapter 10: October – “Cream Fritters”
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...after the troops leave. Pedro feels relieved that whatever they decide, Tita won’t be marrying John after all. (full context)
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...gives Tita advice for preventing future pregnancies. Moments after they leave, another carriage pulls up. John Brown has returned, with flowers for Tita. He embraces her, but he can tell that... (full context)
Chapter 11: November – “Beans with Chile Tezcucana Style”
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...recipe for beans with chile Tezcucana style, which Tita is preparing for her dinner with John and his Aunt Mary. Tita is planning to break off her engagement with John, and... (full context)
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...you should sing. Tita wonders whether she should abandon Pedro to start a family with John. As she sings a love song, her memories of Pedro come to mind, and the... (full context)
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John and his Aunt Mary arrive. In English, Aunt Mary praises Tita and her cooking. John... (full context)
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Tita is touched by John’s response, which she sees as a reflection of his character, and is also surprised that... (full context)
Chapter 12: December: “Chiles in Walnut Sauce.”
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...that the wedding has a “special significance” for Tita, who is very happy, and “for John too.” The narrator then switches over to following John. He has been happily assisting Tita... (full context)
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...her purple face and “wild” eyes just before she finished passing the gas and died. John diagnosed her cause of death as “acute congestion of the stomach.” Few people attended her... (full context)
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...that Tita is still beautiful, even though she is now thirty-nine. As they dance, cheek-to-cheek, John watches with a “look full of affection and just a hint of resignation.” Pedro asks... (full context)
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It was during one of their secret kitchen talks that Esperanza first told Tita about John’s son Alex. Alex had just returned from medical school, and Esperanza was reacquainted with him... (full context)
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...to go and find her husband at once. Seeing the passion between Tita and Pedro, John leaves too. Tita wishes John had found someone to love after her, but he never... (full context)
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...feelings they’ve ever held back. As Tita orgasms, she sees a bright tunnel. She remembers John telling her years before about the bright tunnel that appears when all of one’s inner... (full context)