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Evolution of the Family in Latin American Literature

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Evolution of the Family in Latin American Literature

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  • June 18, 2008
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“Evolution of Family in Latin American Literature”
Throughout the trials and tribulations of Latin America’s past one thing has always stood true, the importance of family. At times the family dynamic in Latin American culture was unbalanced and unfair to certain members. Family and traditions were always of the utmost importance in Latin American culture. Latin America has gone through a complete political transformation since its inception, and this was not always easy on its citizens. Many Latin American authors such as Laura Esquievel and Isabel Allende have done a spectacular job of connecting Latin Americas changing political landscape to the ever-changing family dynamic within Latin American families. The family unit is the most important thing in Latin American culture, each person’s role in the family evolves and adapts as society changes throughout Latin American history.

The family in Latin America could be loving and nurturing, but it could also be rigid and stifling like its traditions. Latin America is deeply rooted in tradition, and although some of these traditions are archaic they are hard to change. An example of this is found in Laura Esquivel’s novel Like Water For Chocolate. Tita is a free-spirited woman who is in love and wants her mother’s permission to marry the man she loves. Mama Elena however, insists on keeping up with the tradition that her youngest daughter must never marry and forever take care of her until she dies. When Tita tries to argue Mama Elena says, “You don’t have an opinion and that’s all I want to hear about it. For generations, not a single person in my family has ever questioned this tradition, and no daughter of mine is going to be the one to start” (Esquievel 9). Although Mama Elena is nasty to Tita, Tita does not run away she stays and does her duty till her mother dies. Tita hates the tradition, but she still upholds her part of it.

These Latin American traditions were especially harsh and oppressive for...