Like Water for Chocolate

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Esperanza Character Analysis

Esperanza is the youngest child of Rosaura and Pedro, and the wife of Alex Brown. Her name, chosen by her aunt Tita, means, “hope.” She grows up spending hours in the kitchen with Tita, who becomes her best friend. As her youngest and only daughter, Rosaura plans to make Esperanza follow the family tradition of devoting her life to her mother. Pedro and Tita are Esperanza’s advocates. After Rosaura’s death, Esperanza marries Alex. She is romantic and loves cooking, like Tita. She becomes the mother to the novel’s unnamed narrator.

Esperanza Quotes in Like Water for Chocolate

The Like Water for Chocolate quotes below are all either spoken by Esperanza or refer to Esperanza. 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 12: December Quotes

Esperanza went to the best school, with the object of improving her mind. Tita, for her part, taught her something just as valuable: the secrets of love and life as revealed by the kitchen.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Tita de la Garza, Esperanza
Page Number: 239
Explanation and Analysis:

While raising Esperanza together, Pedro and Tita convince Rosaura to let the child attend school to gain a more well-rounded education than she could at home. This is a struggle because Rosaura believes that, according to their agreement, she is the only one in charge of Esperanza’s “education.” Meanwhile, she agrees to let Tita teach Esperanza how to cook and take care of feeding her. Rosaura thus believes that she (Rosaura herself0 will be the only one influencing her daughter’s thinking. Tita subversively influences Esperanza, however, not only by convincing Rosaura that Esperanza should go to school, but by sneaking her own worldview into Esperanza’s culinary lessons.

The phrase “the secrets of love and life as revealed by the kitchen” captures one of the essential philosophies of the novel. Food and cooking offer a lens for understanding and experimenting with love, the self, and the world. Tita knows this, and it gives her power over other characters who try to oppress her, particularly Mama Elena and Rosaura.

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Little by little her vision began to brighten until the tunnel again appeared before her eyes. There at its entrance was the luminous figure of Pedro waiting for her. Tita did not hesitate. She let herself go to the encounter, and they wrapped each other in a long embrace; again experiencing an amorous climax, they left together for the lost Eden. Never again would they be apart.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Tita de la Garza, Rosaura , Pedro Musquiz , Esperanza
Related Symbols: Heat and Fire
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Tita and Pedro make love after Esperanza and Alex’s wedding. For years, they have continued their affair in secret, busy with managing Rosaura’s feelings and demands, as well as navigating the task of raising Esperanza. Until now, they have never been able to fully express their love without other anxieties or concerns. Now, they have the opportunity to pursue a life together without shame.

This scene validates the theory of Morning Light, which held that when love finds its perfect expression, all of one’s “inner flames” will be lit. Earlier in the passage, Tita resisted the tunnel’s first appearance, feeling she wasn’t ready to die yet. Now, however, she doesn’t “hesitate” when she sees Pedro waiting for her. They climax again together, meaning that they continue sexual intimacy even after death.

What awaits them is described as the “lost Eden,” which is a symbolic choice for numerous reasons. It is the Biblical first home of humankind, and therefore the place of creation. Pedro and Tita’s death is not the end, but the return to the beginning. Further, Eden was the home of Adam and Eve during a time of innocence before the fall of mankind. Through death, Pedro and Tita seem to achieve a clean slate. Even as they continue to have sex in the afterlife, they are without sin because they return to a state of being that predates the Christian concept of sin.

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Esperanza Character Timeline in Like Water for Chocolate

The timeline below shows where the character Esperanza appears in Like Water for Chocolate. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8: August – “Champandongo”
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
...she spilled her first batch while bringing it upstairs for her baby niece to smell. Esperanza was born three months before, premature from Rosaura’s grief. John performed the dangerous delivery, which... (full context)
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
...John, his young son Alex declared that when he grew up, he would marry baby Esperanza. Rosaura replied by revealing to everyone that she planned to continue the family tradition and... (full context)
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Violence and Abuse Theme Icon
...lose her virginity and learn of true love.” Rosaura, in her room trying to put Esperanza to sleep, sees an explosion of colors coming from the storage room. She calls for... (full context)
Chapter 9: September – “Chocolate and Three Kings’ Day Bread”
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
...situation. Her guilt is complicated, however, by her anger that Rosaura still plans to make Esperanza follow the family tradition. (full context)
Chapter 10: October – “Cream Fritters”
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...happily suggests they run away together. Tita tells Pedro they must think about Rosaura and Esperanza, whom Pedro had momentarily forgotten about. They decide to think it over and talk again... (full context)
Chapter 11: November – “Beans with Chile Tezcucana Style”
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
...threatens Tita never to humiliate her publicly again. Rosaura also forbids Tita from interacting with Esperanza, saying the daughter of a good family shouldn’t be influenced by a “streetwalker.” (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
Violence and Abuse Theme Icon
Tita is furious about Rosaura’s threats to keep her away from Esperanza. She wishes the earth would swallow Rosaura up. She then realizes that she has ripped... (full context)
Chapter 12: December: “Chiles in Walnut Sauce.”
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
...and Nicolas wear traditional clothing as they collect the wedding invitations handmade by Alex and Esperanza, using an old family recipe and the wedding ink left over from Rosaura and Pedro’s... (full context)
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...fear anyone’s judgment anymore. He suggests that they could have their own children, “now that Esperanza is leaving us.” (full context)
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
...had kept their love hidden. Out of fear of public scrutiny and the belief that Esperanza should grow up in a traditional household, Rosaura insisted they “maintain the appearance” of a... (full context)
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
Violence and Abuse Theme Icon
...would make her a good companion to Rosaura and a charming socialite. Tita contended that Esperanza should go to school to learn enough to be an engaging conversationalist and so she... (full context)
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
When Alex proposed to Esperanza, the narrator explains that Rosaura “fought like a lioness to defend what according to tradition... (full context)
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
At the wedding, everyone compliments Tita and Pedro for their fine job of raising Esperanza and for her excellent choice in Alex, who has won a grant to complete his... (full context)
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
When Esperanza and Alex return from their honeymoon, they find the ranch covered in ash from the... (full context)