Like Water for Chocolate

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Juan Alejandrez Character Analysis

Juan is a captain in the rebel army. He is the lover and later husband of Gertrudis. He first appears on horseback when he carries Gertrudis away to make love. He then leaves Gertrudis, unable to satisfy her endless sexual desire. The two are later reunited, and they quickly fall back in love and get married. Juan is the father of a few unnamed children with Gertrudis. He is musically gifted, openhearted, and occasionally jealous.

Juan Alejandrez Quotes in Like Water for Chocolate

The Like Water for Chocolate quotes below are all either spoken by Juan Alejandrez or refer to Juan Alejandrez . 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 5: May Quotes

I have a very good aim and a very bad temper, Captain. The next shot is for you, and I assure you that I can shoot you before they can kill me, so it would be best for us to respect each other. If we die, no one will miss me very much, but won’t the nation mourn your loss?

Related Characters: Mama Elena (Elena de la Garza) (speaker), Juan Alejandrez
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:

When a rebel troop arrives at the ranch demanding food and supplies, Mama Elena refuses to allow them to take control of the situation. She allows them only to look for food outside the house, and denies them entry into her cellar where she is hiding Tita, Chencha, and her food reserves. When one of the soldiers suggests they enter with force, Mama Elena shoots live chickens dead out of their hands, and delivers this speech. Mama Elena inspires fear and respect in the men, including Captain Juan Alejandrez, who unbeknownst to Mama Elena is Gertrudis’ lover.

Mama Elena’s speech reflects the authority and power of her character. She surprises the troop because they expect a woman to be fearful and compliant, especially without a “man of the house” to protect her. Mama Elena’s capacity for violence competes with displays of male violence in the novel, which are likewise aggressive and unapologetic. Her sharp tongue also reveals her calculating nature. She is both feminist in how she stands up to male aggressors, and anti-feminist in how she treats other women less powerful than herself.

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Chapter 7: July Quotes

He left because I had exhausted his strength, though he hadn’t managed to quench the fire inside me. Now at last, after so many men have been with me, I feel a great relief. Perhaps someday I will return home and explain it to you.

Related Characters: Gertrudis (speaker), Tita de la Garza, Juan Alejandrez
Related Symbols: Heat and Fire
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:

While Tita is staying at Dr. John Brown’s house, Chencha brings her a letter from Gertrudis. Gertrudis describes her life since she ran away to make love with Juan Alejandrez. After some time with him, he left her and she began working at a brothel.

The tone of Gertrudis’ letter is shameless and triumphant. To Gertrudis, her lust and her sexual adventures are no cause for embarrassment or ridicule. She doesn’t see herself as the object of male lust, but rather as the instigator of sexual passion. Gertrudis’ character provides a foil to traditional sexual dynamics, which frame the male as more dominant/active and the female as more passive. She also contrasts with Tita herself, who is passionate but who often waits for Pedro’s advances. Gertrudis’ attitude allows her to characterize a new kind of modern and empowered female sexuality.

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Juan Alejandrez Character Timeline in Like Water for Chocolate

The timeline below shows where the character Juan Alejandrez appears in Like Water for Chocolate. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: March – “Quail in Rose Petal Sauce”
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
...then magically travels far away to a battleground where federal and rebel troops are fighting. Juan Alejandrez, the captain Gertrudis saw in the village, abandons his troop to run after the... (full context)
Chapter 5: May – “Northern Style Chorizo”
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Violence and Abuse Theme Icon
...the other died. He replies with sincere sadness. Unbeknownst to Mama Elena, the captain is Juan Alejandrez, the man who ran away with Gertrudis. The men kill and take all the... (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
...troop arrives. They are led by Gertrudis, who has become a general, and her husband Juan Alejandrez. Gertrudis says she knows that today is the day Tita makes the chocolate and... (full context)
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Violence and Abuse Theme Icon
...army and fought her way through the ranks to become a general. She reunited with Juan, and they married. Gertrudis is sad to hear of Mama Elena’s death, as she was... (full context)
Chapter 10: October – “Cream Fritters”
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
Violence and Abuse Theme Icon
...raping his mother and sister. Treviño remained dedicated to Gertrudis, even after her marriage to Juan Alejandrez. Terrified of disappointing her, he struggles to make the syrup, which they proudly bring... (full context)
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Violence and Abuse Theme Icon
Tita hears Pedro drunkenly singing to her from outside, accompanied by Juan on the guitar. Tita panics, worried Rosaura will hear. The ghost of Mama Elena appears,... (full context)
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Violence and Abuse Theme Icon
The next day, Gertrudis, Tita, and Juan share a warm goodbye as the troop leaves to attack Zacatecas. Gertrudis gives Tita advice... (full context)
Chapter 12: December: “Chiles in Walnut Sauce.”
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
On the day of the wedding, everyone is impressed when Gertrudis and Juan pull up in a Model T ford coupe. They are sporting the latest trends, with... (full context)