Motif Repetition

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The following sample essay on Motif Repetition reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.

Actions are likely to be repeated, especially between family members and friends. In this essay I will be comparing how previous family issues and situations are somewhat repeated, sometimes with oneself or through the children/friends; that repetition helps those involved gain better understanding of how to deal with them. This could lead to making bonds with those involved in the action.

In this essay, I will be comparing the novels Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Both of these novels have similarities and differences and in addition, they were both set roughly in a similar period but were written in different times and places which could be one of the main differences of the characterization and setting of the novels.

To begin, I will start talking about Like Water for Chocolate.

This novel is mainly about Tita De La Garza and her mother, Mama Elena and the struggles they faced with one another. For Tita, the protagonist, they were the obstacles that kept her from fulfilling what she wanted, for instance, love and freedom. On the other hand Mama Elena, the antagonist, always wanted Tita to live to the expectations of her mother as being obeying and acting in accordance to whatever she thinks is the right thing to do. So one of the types of repetition that could be seen in this novel is the obliged actions, such as living and acting a certain way according to what the society expects.

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So as an example of that would be how Mama Elena expects Tita to follow family traditions and take care of her till she dies.

Motif Repetition

Being the last child, she has the responsibility of always being there for her mother and not letting marriage distract her. Since Mama Elena’s family has been following this tradition for a long time, she enforces it on Tita, whether or not she wants to. So the fact that Tita does obey her mother and only gets married after she dies could show how mature she is considering the circumstances that she is going through. The author might have put this feature in to reflect how societies are or were at the time of the Mexican Revolution; that following certain traditions and rules was an obligation and enforced on children throughout different generations. This makes the reader sympathize with Tita and what she is going through, and gives a drama aspect to the novel.

This is somewhat ironic because Mama Elena did do things that she herself was telling Tita not to do and to forbid herself from them. She had once loved Jose Trevino, whom she could not marry because he had Negro blood in him; so she decided to run away with him when she found out she was pregnant with Gertrudis, her first daughter. She had already been married to Tita’s father, but she still wanted to go away with him; she could not because he had been killed. Likewise, Tita had fallen in love with Pedro, but when she wanted to be with him, Mama Elena forbids her because she had to remain unmarried in order to take care of her mother. This is a literary pairing because both characters share a similar struggle of a lost love due to their families, but end in different situations. Although both react to their situations differently, which shows their different characters, they were both determined to live their lives with those whom they loved. Tita ends up being with Pedro, whereas Mama Elena loses Jose and then commits herself full time to her marriage and family.

The author might have brought out this aspect to show that Mama Elena is not as bad as the readers’ think she is, but is also a caring mother in a way, by not wanting Tita to go through the pain that she went through. This could also be seen as the contrary, that Mama Elena does not want Tita to have what she, herself, could not achieve. That is one aspect that is not stated in the novel since it is in Tita’s point of view, but having her grand-niece as an omniscient narrator, but more to Tita than to anyone else. Although it is ambiguous, one of the things Mama Elena did could show that she, in fact, does not want Tita to have what she could not. In the beginning of the novel, when Pedro came to ask for Tita’s hand in marriage, Mama Elena refused; but instead of rejecting them completely -that is not allowing them to marry anyone from the family- she offered her eldest daughter, Rosaura. She knew that Tita loved him, but she still wanted her other daughter to marry him. She knew how much that would affect her and hurt her emotionally.

On the other hand, the novel Siddhartha, which was written by Herman Hesse in 1922, is mainly about Siddhartha, the protagonist, going on a quest to search for spiritual enlightenment. One of the examples that could be seen as repetition is in the beginning, when he decides to go on the journey. When he tells his parents of what he wants to do, his father denies his request but then finally approves of it. As he made this decision to leave his friends and family, he did not taken into consideration the way that they might feel with his departure. Later on, when Siddhartha decides to leave the “child-like” life, Kamala is left behind too, but Siddhartha does not know that she is pregnant with his son.

After a few years, when Kamala learns that the great Buddha Gotama, is sick, she decides to go on a journey to see him. When they get close to the river, Kamala lies down and suddenly, and a black snake bites her leg. She is found and taken to the hut where Siddhartha is by Vasudeva, the ferryman. When Kamala dies, Siddhartha learns the true feeling of pain and loss of his own son because he, too, decides to leave home to find where he belongs. This is somewhat ironic because Siddhartha went on his quest to find enlightenment and peace, and his son did the same thing in a way, by leaving to find where he fits in. The author might have included this aspect to bring out the idea that when doing an action, often, someone does not necessarily feel how it is to be affected by this action until it happens to them.

Another example that could be seen as a motif of repetition is the way that Siddhartha went through tough situations and different life styles, and in the end, he finds true enlightenment with the ferryman who teaches him the oneness of the world. He started out being a Samana but was not convinced of the path he was on. So when he decides to leave, he enters the world of the ‘child-like’ people where he meets Kamala. After being influenced by everything he went against as a monk, he decides that that lifestyle is not the right one for him and so he leaves again. This time, he goes to a river with the intention of drowning, and that is when he hears the ‘OM’ sound which finally enlightens him; and all suicidal thoughts disappear. The author could have brought this to show that one does not necessarily find what they are looking for by following a certain path but instead by exploring the different paths in order to truly find what they are looking for, which in Siddhartha’s case is enlightenment. Perhaps he also brought this out so that he can show that instincts can lead to great findings or that it could lead to better harmony within oneself.

In conclusion, both Siddhartha and Like Water for Chocolate contain aspects of repeated action between family members and friends. The way the authors brought out these ideas of repetition in the novels might have to do with the fact that there is metatexuality and that there are intentions behind the actions; that the reader only finds out when they are at the end of the novel. So a possible similarity that both novels have is, that in order to gain knowledge, one would need to go through the experiences and hardships of life; as Tita and Siddhartha in both novels. Also having repetition of actions from different people, helps one to see how the situation is from different perspectives as Mama Elena saw in Tita’s acquaintances with Pedro and Siddhartha’s former decision through his son’s departure.

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Motif Repetition. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Motif Repetition
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