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Theme of forbidden love explored in The House of the Spirits and Like Water for Chocolate.
Romeo and Juliet will always remain a classic example of a tale of pure love that was forbidden. On the similar lines are Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits and Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate wherein Blanca and Pedro, Ferula and Clara in the former and Tita and Pedro Muzquiz in the latter are restrained for some reason or the other to experience the culmination of their eternal love. Besides the characters the passionate culture of the Latin- America as the setting of both the texts too contributes a lot in making both these stories the tales of love which was not successful.
Eateban Treuba's and Clara's daughter Blanca is born and brought up in a rich family. The Hacienda of which Esteban Trueba is the owner has Pedro, Blanca's love working on it. The society was divided on the basis of class and that is what acted as a major obstacle in Blanca's and Pedro's relation, making their love a forbidden one.
Esteban Treuba was known for his dictatorship amongst the peasants who worked on Tres Marias. Many disapproved and disliked his ways of working. Pedro too was one of them who used every opportunity that he got to oppose his rules. Esteban Treuba was well aware of this and it further made the situation worse for Pedro and Blanca. Esteban was not aware of this secret affair that his daughter had nurtured for so many years. it is by Jean de Satingy that he is informed of the fact that such a relation existed. Esteban whipped and lashed his daughter for this so much so he forcibly got her married to Jean and deported them to some desert. Esteban's treatment did damage his relation with his daughter but the physical separation between Pedro and Blanca could in no way put off the passion that each other had within their hearts.
Thus no force on earth could prevent them from "coming to love each other with the ecstatic passion". However the love experienced by the two was unusual. Since they had grown up together experiencing this secret love for each other that it had become a way of life for them . No one made any efforts of making it a success because they were afraid of the fact that in normal circumstances they may not experience the same passion that they did in forbidden circumstances. Blanca "fed their love with fantasies, idealized it, savagely defended it, stripped it of prosaic truth, and turned it into the kind of love found in novels".
The love experienced by both was thus forbidden even though the passion never faded.
Another character who experiences forbidden love is Esteban Trueba, who wished all his life that Clara submit to him. He wanted to possess her both emotionally and physically. Allende projects the immense power of love which may be forbidden but certainly gives meanings to the lives of the characters.
Laura Esquivel brings out the theme of forbidden love through many characters. it is a story set in Mexico , of a family that lives on a ranch and in times when tradition heavily bound them from doing what they wished to.
Tita de La Garza, like any teenage girl found the love of her life in Pedro Muzquiz. She began to weave her dreams thinking of marrying her love one day, but the dreams shattered when Mama Elena announced that instead of her it is Rosaura who would get married to Pedro. The reason given for this was that the youngest daughter of the family had to spend her entire life serving her mother. So at the very outset the theme of forbidden love is introduced in the novel. The passionate love had to face many a storm; many relations begin to lose meaning. First is that of Tita and Mama Elena. It is Mama Elena who is responsible for ruining it all. She troubles her daughter to such an extent that it becomes suffocating for her .she is even forbidden to express her sorrow over the fact that she cannot spend her life with Pedro and she is given charge of the wedding. She begins to hate Rosaura for following Mama Elena's orders and all such emotions are given the shape of the wedding cake which has the similar emotion overtaking the guests who eat it. Isabel Allende uses the theme of forbidden love to make her story progress .On the other hand Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate revolves around this theme bringing out the attitudes, behaviour's , emotions feelings of various characters who are affected by it in some way or the other. For instance the love that Rosaura feels for Pedro is forbidden because even though Pedro got married to her, it was done on a purpose. He could never kill his feelings for Tita, nor could Mama Elena force him to do that.
Mama Elena herself experiences forbidden love where the norms of the society restrain her to settle with the man she loved. All this is known through Tita who ventures into her mother's box after death.
Both the authors highlight the fact that Esteban Trueba and Mama Elena responsible for forbidding characters to love each other could surely exercise their power in succeeding in the venture but they could not completely destroy the emotion within the hearts of Pedro and Blanca and Pedro and Tita. The love continues to rule and eventually does succeed in the case of Pedro and Tita. However as far as redeeming for the sin committed it is only Esteban Trueba who undergoes transformation towards the end of the novel. The irony is that the man he hated the most, is the one who helps him out in the times when he had no hope left, where as in case of Mama Elena she continues to remain cruel throughout, infact climbs the ladder from being bad to worse. She carries it with her to her grave and continues to trouble Tita appearing to her every now and then as a ghost.
Forbidden love as a theme is extremely significant tool of narrating a story. It has both the power to add depth to the plot which is the case of the house of the spirits and the ability to hold the text on its foundation as evident in case of Like Water for Chocolate.
Both Laura Esquivel and Isable Allende have beautifully dealt with the powerful emotion of love ,binding it with the thrilling forbidden urge and as a result both the texts keep the readers engaged right uptill the end.