Gender

Class and Gender Differences in RevolutionaryEra Mexico

The novel features relationships that are full of conflicts that are as hot as water for chocolate. The paper analyzes how the book depicts class relationships and gender norms. On the one hand, Esquivel disapproves of the values of the upper class who dominate the lower class and promote class differences, while she sympathizes with the lower class who display loyalty and simple aspirations, and, on the other hand, Esquivel portrays the traditional roles of women in the domestic sphere, but she also exhibits women who are willing to break traditions and lead, not only the Mexican Revolution, but Women’s Revolution too, through independence, love, and courage. The setting is a social-class-divided society that Esquivel criticizes because of how the upper class tends to be oppressive. Mama Elena is a symbol for the upper class because of her social position. Esquivel shows her as a hard, domineering woman, who has no concern for the happiness of her employees. Her coldness goes back to her parents when Esquivel narrates how Nancha used to have a fiancé, but Mama Elena’s mother sent him away. Esquivel shows the irony of the many wedding feasts that Nancha already prepared for others: Since then, all she could do was enjoy other people’s weddings, as she had been doing for years without grumbling (34). As a human being, Nancha deserves to have a family of her own, but the upper class sees their servants as their properties that they cannot share with others. Mama Elena’s mother might have considered that Nancha will not be able to focus on her housekeeping job as a wife and mother, so she prefers the selfish act of pushing away Nancha’s fiancé. Mama Elena is no different when it comes to her servants. The way she treats Chencha, for instance, right after the latter is raped, is quite heartless. Mama Elena does not want Tita to prepare her food because she thinks her daughter is poisoning her (Esquivel 130). Chencha suffersmaltreatment from Mama Elena as her server though: …once the shouts and reproaches started, [Chencha] realized that [she] can’t have a slice without paying for the loaf’.

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