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Ursula & Mama Elena Essay, Research Paper Verbal and visual representation of the matriarchal rule. Ursula Buendia in One Hundred Years of Solitude and Mama Elena in Like Water for Chocolate are two of the prominent and powerful female characters in the novels. No less important than men, these women assume the leading roles in the families; through their verbal and visual representation they exhibit their leadership qualities in some similarities and contrasted way . Though the settings of two novels situate in different places and different times One Hundred Years of Solitude depicts the Buendia family in a mythical and Eden-like town where exists the patriarchal domination, and Like Water for Chocolate set in modern life where matriarchal rule of mother Elena control

the family Ursula and Mama Elena are bound to have some similarities. Behind the simple episodic plots, there was history of life as it was lived, with all its multiple restrictions for women of social class. Their characterizations followed the forms of life of these women rather than their unique individuality. They live out a full life in institution of marriage, which was a form of indentured slavery for life in which a woman serve father, then to husband as they re married, and to the sons as father and husband has passed. Encased in this foundation, these women, Ursula and Mama Elena, for the most part, are firmly anchored in daily reality, obsessively, with the routines of daily living. Therefore cooking, sewing, decorations were the creative outlets for them. Although

Buendias family is under patriarchal dominance, the power behind it locates in hand of Ursula, who often engages in duty of operating the house, even taking care of the man of the house. In like manner, Elena as well as Ursula overwhelms themselves into a role model of matriarchal ruling. Mama Elena emerges in an image of a strong, middle-class woman and far more clever than the men who supposedly protect her. She s pious, observing all the religious requirement of a virtuous daughter, wife, and mother. She exercises a great care to keep her sentimental relation as private as possible from her family. Effectively Mama Elena keeps her adulterous affair covert to sustain straight to others her image and ideal of a model. Most important of all, she s in control of life in the house,

which means essentially the kitchen and bedroom or food and sex. Much of the same has Ursula control over, but not with absolute power as of Elena, for in this society patriarchal rule is still in domination. Only when Jose Arcadio Buendia loses his mind, Ursula has to tie him to a chestnut tree and keeps the family going. With the common sense energy and determination of matriarchal will, she plays off against the enduring erotic figures outside the family: Pilar Ternera and Petra Cotes. All her life she fights against the incest taboo which revolves in her family. Ursula is very much a part of Macondo s history, she s always in thick of actions. She prevents an execution of mayor Moscote whom she thinks to be a good mayor, and unsuccessfully tries to arrange the marriage

between Armaranta and Italian pianola expert, Pietro Crespi. Meanwhile, Ursula insists to banish the unnatural wedding of Jose Arcadio II and Rebecca; later she renews her house again and wishing to finance Jose Arcadio V s study in Italy to be a Pope. Briefly, Ursula, in no imaginative venture, has her center of life with home attachments. As positive as the actions of both Ursula and Elena mean for their families, the inevitability of situations they encounter and the attitude they take on turn the positive direction, which they try to maintain, to the negative which consequently set them far into contrast. By Ursula s power of sympathetic insight, she s able to have her keen look into character and recognize the family s problem: the Colonel is driven to his reckless