Like Water for Chocolate

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Morning Light/ “The Old Indian Woman”/ “The Kikapu” Character Analysis

Morning Light is the grandmother of Dr. John Brown. She comes from an indigenous tribe called the Kikapu. As a young woman, she is taken captive by John’s grandfather, who brings her home as his wife. She faces prejudice from her husband’s family, who call her “The Kikapu.” Morning Light studies and uses plant-based medicine and passes her knowledge onto her grandson. She is wise and has many well-developed philosophies about the soul. She appears only as a ghost to Tita and in John’s stories from the past.

Morning Light/ “The Old Indian Woman”/ “The Kikapu” Quotes in Like Water for Chocolate

The Like Water for Chocolate quotes below are all either spoken by Morning Light/ “The Old Indian Woman”/ “The Kikapu” or refer to Morning Light/ “The Old Indian Woman”/ “The Kikapu”. 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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Morning Light/ “The Old Indian Woman”/ “The Kikapu” Character Timeline in Like Water for Chocolate

The timeline below shows where the character Morning Light/ “The Old Indian Woman”/ “The Kikapu” appears in Like Water for Chocolate. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: June – “A Recipe for Making Matches”
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Violence and Abuse Theme Icon
...the yarns John bought her. One day, she wandered into a room outside, where an old Indian woman was making tea. She went each day to sit with the old woman, who reminded... (full context)
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
Violence and Abuse Theme Icon
...perception of reality. John tells Tita that his interest in science came from his grandmother, Morning Light , a Kikapu Indian who loved to study the medicinal properties of plants. During battle,... (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
While teaching Tita to make matches using phosphorous, John explains the philosophy of Morning Light . Everyone has a box of matches inside their soul. A loved one’s breath is... (full context)