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By Dianna C Niebylski

Contextualizing theoretical debates in regards to the political makes use of of gendered humor and feminine extra, this e-book explores daring new ways that a couple of modern Latin American ladies authors strategy questions of identification and neighborhood. the writer examines the connections between strategic makes use of of humor, women’s our bodies, and resistance in works of fiction via Laura Esquivel, Ana Lydia Vega, Luisa Valenzuela, Armon?a Somers, and Alicia Borinsky. She indicates how the interarticulation of the comedian and comic-grotesque imaginative and prescient with varieties of over the top lady our bodies may end up in new configurations of girl subjectivity.

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As the novel begins to mix recipes for homeopathic remedies in between detailed instructions for mole, oxtail soup, and quail in rose-petal sauce, cookbook and romance, bourgeois morality and rebel protofeminism are served side by side, in varying quantities. Sniffing the hybrid narrative menu, one gets a whiff of deferred or unresolved desire for female pleasure and women’s freedom, but the novel decides to offer these as light fare rather than as the pièce de résistance. ”7 Jeffrey Pilcher also sees Esquivel’s privileging of the kitchen and the cookbook as a radical move.

17 In fact, the identification of a passive, humorless reading with the female gender in a discussion of the novela cómica, defined here as a genre that assumes the reader’s full range of comic-ironic and thus sophisticated sensibilities, echoes the same insidious and entrenched prejudice that I discuss in the first part of this chapter. Equally problematic is the fact that Cortázar’s memorable magas (the “magical” Lucías and the Talitas and the Polas that fire the author’s—and his male characters’—imagination) are seldom the producers of the superb humor or the darkly comic wit that punctuate his meganovel.

While Pedro’s death of stroke from a sudden release of longdeferred desire is merely comic (unless one insists on reading the ending in a seriously romantic way), Tita’s suicide exaggerates another staple of melodrama and (tragic or tragicomic) romance. Rendering as “real” the metaphorical fireworks of romantic comedies and melodrama, Como agua para chocolate ends with enough sparks to set to rest any doubts about the carnivalized appropriation of a stereotypical romantic ending. Since the sexual consummation (which does not take place in the end) occurs after the big banquet at her niece’s wedding (the novel’s other, and happier, ending), Tita’s body, as a body flamé, becomes the novel’s last rite as well as its last meal, but this does not obscure the fact that her exaggerated death, which could also be read as another death by poisoning in the novel, is indeed hyperbolic enough to suggest a parodic take on the melodramatic ritual of dying for love.

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