Educated Mexican woman
The culinary Lesson by Rosario Castellanos is the story of a modern, educated Mexican woman who has spent her life in schooling, socializing with the modern world, going to cafes as well as working. She's been exposed to and learned the wrong things that didn't prepare her for the roles of a wife. My place is here. It has been here, and I wandered lost in classrooms, in streets, in offices, in cafes; wasting my time in skills that I now need to forget to acquire others, she thinks. She finally settles down with her husband and assumes her roles as a wife and is faced with the challenges of handling her roles as a woman.
The woman gets into the kitchen and realizes she doesn't know how to make a toast and resolves to use a recipe book to maneuver through her cooking so as not to feel inferior to the expectations of her husband. Through a series of flashbacks, she takes us through the transformations that her life has undergone. She describes these changes as metamorphoses,' and the same is represented by the meat that she's trying to cook. The kitchen is a very strange setting for her and the jargon in the recipe book sound alien to her. She takes to herself to blame the author of the book for expecting that novices would understand the words therein
The narrator, from her monolog, doesn't like all her predicament and laments about it. After she fails her duties as a wife, when the meat burns, she is torn between whether to dress in readiness to wait for her husband so they can go out for dinner, or to face her fate that she has failed her husband and accept any demeanor that was to follow.
The Tree by Maria Luisa Bombal
The Tree by Maria Luisa Bombal on the other hand, is a story about a young girl named Brigida who lived an Ignorant life and was illiterate. It is because her father had spent money on her other five siblings and schooled them leaving Brigida behind. Brigida wants and craves for the skills to fit into a modern society but she finds this a huge challenge since she lacks the necessary knowledge to do so. It throws her into a realm of unhappiness and resolves to traumatic inner struggles. She puts her faith on a rubber tree that stands outside her window and just stares it. The tree was the only thing that comforted her that had a close relationship to her personality and nature.
The similarity between these two books is majorly the new worlds that the two main characters in the two stories get introduced to, in which they have no idea how to fit following their initial entirely different experiences. In The Culinary Lesson the main character gets introduced to a new world full of responsibilities of being a wife, like cooking. Brigida needs the skills and knowledge to fit into a new world which she finds strange. When she can't, she becomes utterly sad.
Another similarity is that both books revolve around women, and their pursuit to interact with other members of the society, through a channel that is prescribed for them, and nothing in their earlier lives had prepared them for such roles. The story of marriage is a common phenomenon in both stories. Rosario's female character has a husband. Luisa's Brigida has Luis, whom she thinks she loves, but realizes the opposite when the tree is cut, after which she leaves Luis
The main difference between the two stories include the thematic meaning, that is, Rosario's character had the full potentialities to explore life, get educated, explore the outside world and get new experiences before settling down finally. She had the opportunity that Brigida craves for, that is, education. Brigida's folks were the main reason she didn't go to school. This reason is beyond her control. The two authors use symbolism to represent their two characters resultant regression. Rosario uses the meat that metamorphosis to describe the changes that the main character has undergone since childhood, before finally becoming a wife. The meat hasn't stopped existing. It has undergone a series of metamorphoses, which represents the changes in her life. In The Tree,' Maria uses the tree outside Brigida's house to symbolize her inner feelings. Whatever the tree undergoes outside represents what Brigida is feeling inside. It was the rubber tree, set in motion by the storm, knocking its branches on the glass. As Luisa pens.
Magical realism as an element is explicit in the The Tree than it is in The Culinary lesson.' Magical realism endeavors to show us the world through other people's eyes. How we attempt to connect to other humans, make meanings out of the life experiences, and more so often fail in these endeavors. It's the world where there are no boundaries between dreams and reality. Whatever happens in that instance is real in real life. Maria, in The Tree,' first introduces as to Brigida's past. A nostalgic, childhood, youthful past, which comes to her mind as the classical music takes her back down the memory lane. She throws us back to the time when possibilities were open before their eyes, between herself and Luis-her once romantic and amorous husband. This past is cut short when we first forward to the present where we witness a failed marriage, whose cause is the love that never was, the love that Luis could not provide. It contributes to Brigida's attachment to the rubber tree outside her window, to gain a far-fetched comfort. Her moony vision gives way to reality after the tree is cut when she realizes that her place of escapism is exposed. She learns to accept herself the way she is. Magical realism, therefore, blends elements of the real world with original surrealistic descriptions and events.
The most important about the two stories starting with the first one, The Culinary Lesson is that the resentment to the chores of a wife showed the character in this book, comes as a result of obligation and not by choice. It's good to learn that through, cooking, for example, one can derive happiness and joy and is a chance to exploit one's artistic abilities. Through Brigida's terminated illusions, it's vivid that sometimes escapism is not the solutions to our problems. It just keeps us in there for sometimes and when reality dawns, we come back to the same state. It's, therefore, important to face our problems head-on and find solutions rather that resolve to unrealistic sources of comfort. It's also important to learn to accept ourselves the way we are and appreciate ourselves with both the challenges and the good memories we hold dear, as they contribute to who we are as well as shaping who we can be.
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