Discussion location: library

Alexa Sullivan
Julia Beatty
Abby Belisle
Katie Overhaug
Chandler Smith
Kimberly Smith

Looking down at the pre discussion questions I think since there are five of us we should each choose a section and then all add one passage we feel as important. Any suggestions of objections?
Feel free to add to the for discussion
Does anyone want to be the student facilitator? I (Chandler) will be if no one else wants to

For discussion

Issues and Ideas:
-Who did you want Tita to end up with, Pedro, or John Brown?
-What role does the tradition play in this book? Is it always a negative role?
-How did this book stick with the "norm" of gender stereotypes or break from it?
- Comparing the two male figures together - Pedro and John Brown, What is their relationship with Tita? Why does she make the choice she does?
- What is love in Like Water for Chocolate?
-What does the title mean?
- How is the food related to the conflicts in the story? Do you think it's effective?
-How did the food allow the story to flow?
- How are the three sisters different from one another?
- Nacha and Mama Elena represent maternal figures for Tita. How are their maternal qualities different?
- Gertrudis did run away to join the revolution, would mama Elena welcome her when she came back?
- What do Tita's and Pedro's deaths suggest about love?
-What was the importance of Chencha?
-What were some of the major themes in the book?
-Why doesn't Tita and Pedro just run away together in the beginning?
-Why did Rosaura's weight change so rapidly? Why was that important?
-How does Tita's food affect people?
-Why do they add the comment on how the land is really fertile now?
-Why does Tita burst into flames?
-How does Pedro get burned? Actually by the ghost or some other accident?
-How does food portray emotions?

Analytical question:
-Why do you think Esquival decided to write the story by months?
-What do you think was the biggest conflict of the novel? Mama Elena vs. Tita, or the forbidden romance of Tita and Pedro.
-Who do you think was a better person, Dr. Brown or Pedro?
-Why do you think Tita doesn't stand up to Mama Elena in the beginning?
-Was Tita trying to ruin the wedding?

Significant passages:
-"Eyes closed, Gertrudis offered up a silent prayer, asking that Tita be granted many more years in which to prepare the family recipes. Neither she nor Rosaura knew how to make them; when Tita died, her family's past would die with her." (179)
-"I don't know why mine never turn out like hers, or why my tears flow so freely when I prepare them---perhaps I am as sensitive to onions as Tita, my great-aunt, who will go on living as long as there is someone who cooks her recipes." (246)
-"Soups can cure any illness, whether physical or mental-at least, that was Chencha's firm belief, and Tita's too, although she hadn't given sufficient credit to it for quite some time. But now it would have to be accepted as truth. About three months ago, after tasting a spoonful of soup that Chencha had made brought to Dr. John Brown's house, Tita had returned to her senses." (123)
-"Something strange was going on. Tita remembered that Nacha had always said that when people argue while preparing tamales, the tamales won't get cooked. They can be heated day after day and still stay raw, because the tamales are angry. In a case like that, you have to sing to them, which makes them happy, then they'll cook." (218-219)

Comment: Rosaura and Tita got into an argument when Rosaura accuses Tita of sneaking around with Pedro and prohibits Tita from having any more contact with Esperanza. The intensity of that argument affected the meal that Tita is preparing for Dr.Brown's Aunt's visit. Rosaura and Tita's anger transfers to the tamales and prevents them from being cooked. Tita then had to sing to them in order to make them cook, and how it also illustrates the continual exchange between human emotion and food.

Historical/Biographical questions:

-History/political conflict
What is the political situation in Mexico at this time?
-during the 20th century Mexican Revolution
-Cultural/religious traditions
-To me it seems that Tita is treated terribly with abuse and control. I believe this is wrong the way she is treated, but is this normal for Tita's culture?
-Is the youngest child taking care of the mother, a thing?
-Why was this traditional developed, and why does it need to be passed on for generations?
-What rebellion was going on and how did it effect the political climate and the ordinary household?
What were the religious expectations? (aka, divorce, sex, morals, family expectations)
-Bio of Author
- How does the author's experiences in life have an effect on the novel?
-Was this story based on a family member?
-Articles of literary criticism
What is the genre Laura Esquival is writing in?
-Magical Realism
-Author info
-Book review

-allusion/cultural references
Magical Realism: more research
-Is there much important on food preparation in the Mexican culture?
-Is there certain Mexican traditions about ghosts?

Pre discussion questions:

Tita(main character), Pedro(loves Tita, but is married to Rosaura), Rosaura(sister to Tita), Mama Elena(mother to Rosaura, Gertrudis, and Tita), Nacha(cook), Gertrudis(sister to Tita and Rosaura), Dr. John Brown(takes care of Tita and asks her to marry him), Chencha(servant), Roberto(Pedro and Rosaura's first born, but dies), Esperanza(daught of Pedro and Rosaura), Alex(marries Esperanza and is John Brown's son)
Where in Mexico is the novel set?
-Important plot events
-Mama Elena tells Tita she can't marry
-Pedro asks for Tita's hand, but has to marry Rosaura
-Pedro and Rosaura get married
-Nacha dies
-Gertrudis leaves
-Roberto dies
-Mama Elena dies
-Pedro gets burned
-Rosaura dies
-Alex and Esperanza get married
-Tita and Pedro die
-What do Tita's and Pedro's death suggest about love? About their love in particular? (Julia)
Tita v. Mama Elena
Tita v. Society
Tita v. Self
Pedro v. Mama Elena
Mama Elena v. Gertrudis
Rosaura v. Tita
Pedro v. Rosaura
John Brown v. Pedro
- What is the importance of the narrator?
-Who was telling the story? The great-niece of Tita? How did this affect the reliability of the narration?