Like Water For Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate and Literary Criticism

Task: You’ll write a 2-4 page essay on Like Water for Chocolate for this assignment. You’ll use Kristine Ibsen’s critical essay “Like Water for Chocolate” and Maria Elena de Valdes’ critical essay “Verbal and Visual Representation of Women” to enhance your essay.  You’ll quote from these critical essays to help you prove your thesis statement and add ethical appeal to your essay.

Thesis Statement: Once you have closely examined the novel, you will pick a topic about the book that interests you. You should choose a topic that relates to the author’s use of language, technique, character, or theme. You’ll create an original thesis that doesn’t just restate what critical authors have already said. The focus of your paper can relate to any element you find in the novel that you think is worth pursuing.  The topic / thesis will be an original one you will derive from your thoughts on the workLike Water for Chocolate. Think of something you find interesting and something about which you have a definite opinion.  This opinion will be your thesis, but you cannot use first person.

Format: Your MLA format should be perfect. You have the resources not to mess it up. You’ll earn an immediate deduction of 15 points if you do not satisfy these requirements since the first impression the reader has of your essay is the format. You will have a works cited page. Be sure it is correct!

Quotes: You must incorporate at least 5 quotes from the novel (your primary source) and 3 quotes from each critical essay (your secondary sources). You must blend the quotes so that no quote stands by itself. You may not use a block quote for this essay. Highlight novel quotes in blue (5) and critical essay quotes in yellow (total of 6).

Here is a proper example: In “Verbal and Visual Representation of Women,” Maria Elena de Valdes argues that “fiction began to take a prominent role” in the middle of the 19th century (1). Sincethe author’s name was used in this sentence, it was not repeated in the citation. If the author’s name wasn’t there, the citation would have been(de Valdes 1).

The order to turn in the essay:

  1. (top) Final Essay
  2. Rough drafts and peer-editing
  3. Attached literary criticism

Rubric: By now you know how we assess your writing and what we expect of your 12th grade writing skills. Here is a brief breakdown of how you’ll be assessed:   ZipGrade

  Blending and citing quotes. All parenthetical citations are integrated. No quote stands alone without your words in the same sentence.


Strong and open thesis statement that applies to the paper all the way to the end




Analysis reveals thoughtful understanding and analysis of the text; writer remembers that analysis is not summary. The paper has an arguable tone that confirms it is a product of the writer’s ideas.  All traditional elements expected in formal essay are included here. Correct use of MLA format (format, Works Cited page, header, etc.)



Student writes clearly and with proper grammar.




20-18 20-18 20-18 20-18 20-18


17-16 17-16 17-16 17-16 17-16


15-14 15-14 15-14 15-14 15-14


13-0 13-0 13-0 13-0 13-0

Guidelines for Format of Research Paper (consult here for clarification and examples on MLA stuff:

  1. Type set and Font.  You must use Times New Roman for your type set and you must use a 12 point font.
  2. Margins.  Use one-inch margins at the top, sides, and bottom.  When you open Word and start typing on the first line, that line is ½ inch from the top and ½ inch from the right and left side.  Do not adjust these margins.  Word is automatically set to these specifications, so you are fine if you do not change anything. 
  3.  Heading.  On the first page, start one inch from the top (word will be automatically set to one inch) of the paper and give, at the left-hand margin and on separate lines, your first and last name, your teacher’s name, the name of your class, and the complete date in this format: 18 December 2012.  Double space between the lines.
  4. Title.  On the line following the date, center the title of your paper.  Your paper should have an original title (it should not be “Research Paper for Mrs. Williams”).  Use upper and lowercase letters, not all caps.  Nothing should be underlined.  If the title of the book is mentioned in your essay title, it should be italicized.  Do not underline anything in your title).  Double space between the date and the title and between the title and the first paragraph of the paper.

Stevie Smith

Mrs. jay

12th World Literature

19 December 2016

Multimodal Communication inPersepolis

  1. Name and page numbers.  Starting on page 2, place your last name, a space, and the page number at the top of each page of the paper, flush with the right-hand margin.  The name and page number should appear 1 inch from the top edge of the paper.  (see below).  Do not precede the page number with the word “page” or any abbreviation such as “p.” or “pp.” or “pg.”  Do not put your full name – last name only and the number of the page.  The page numbers should continue to your works cited page. Note that this may not work on all versions of Word.
    • Go to page 2 of your essay.  Click on “view.”  Click on “header / footer.”  Tab over to the far right and type your last name.  Click on the icon w/ a page and the number sign in it.  The page number will automatically be inserted.  Click on page set up which is the icon w/ 2 blank pages on the header / footer toolbar.  Click on the third tab at the top labeled “Layout.”  Under the “headers and footers” section of the page, click the box that says “different first page.”
  2. Spacing.  Double-space the entire paper, including headings, titles, quotations, and paragraphs.  Do not put extra space between paragraphs; just hit enter between one paragraph and the next.
  3. Paragraphing.  Do not leave a single line of a paragraph at the bottom of a page.  If you have one single line left at the bottom, put a page break before the next paragraph begins.
  4. Works Cited.  On the Works Cited page, center the words “Works Cited.”  Do not capitalize all letters, do not underline, put in a larger font, or put in quotation marks.  Double space after you type Works Cited.

Double space and alphabetize all the Works Cited entries.  Entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the author. The Works Cited page should be in MLA format (see example).  Begin the first line of each Works Cited entry flush left.  Indent subsequent lines five spaces from the left margin (see example).

  1. Word count.  In pencil or typed on the last page of your paper (not your works cited page), please indicate the number of words according to the Word Count calculator.  Your paper must be 500-700 words without the works cited page.

Below is for teacher use only.