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Distinguished Wordsmith
Zeal
Posts: 258
Registered: ‎03-18-2009

Re: Ravenna

Although Ravenna is definitely angry, I see her as extremely depressed and somewhat involved in self-punishment.  She retreats into her forgetfulness and silence which seems almost manic (depression) to me, but then her anger flairs on the opposite side of the depression, causing her to lash out at the mists and cook up a storm. 

 

I agree that the furious cooking is a form of therapy for Ravenna, but I cannot help but wonder if it is some form of penance.  Why does she continue to cook for Gabriel if their relationship is so nonexistent?  They are never together in the same room unless they are having their morning meal or arguing.  Yet, Ravenna seems to feel obligated to cook for Gabriel.  Is there some part of the past that she is trying to make up for?  Maybe she is responsible for their separation in some way, and she feels guilty about it.

 

The cooking therapy reminds me of my mother's "ironing therapy."  Whenever my mom was depressed, angry or just plain fed up, she retreated to the basement laundry room until she worked out all of her emotions.  It was kind of our signal to leave her alone.  No one bothered her when she was ironing.  Mom's mood was usually much improved when she reappeared with overflowing hangers of freshly ironed clothes!

"I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer."
Sharon Draper
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drbjaded
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
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Re: Ravenna

I read the descriptions and her behavior and I do not see her as a very domesticated woman.  She's more of a social type woman.  I think the cooking is her therapy to deal with the things that have happened in her life.  It kinda makes the day go by faster and gives her comfort.  In her own teeny tiny way she may be trying to do something for her daughter without her daughter actually knowing that she's doing some good.  I just see this woman as not the motherly type at all.  To not even know your daughter's presence or existence is just wrong.  The cooking compensates for it.  Cooking has taken the place of her daughter. 

 

I don't see their relationship changing at all.  It seems as if she sees less and less of her daughter.  Her daughter had her friendship with Hannah and meets Daniel and never does she mention her parents.  Never is there discussion about her parents worrying about where she went.  When she got her haircut no mention of her mother or father or of them even noticing her change in appearance.

 

They are strangers in the same house.  He doesn't even live in the house in the evening.  To have taken a mistress, he seems to have lost interest in Ravenna. 

 

She seems to be fighting with the house.  Her ongoing feud with the mist is quite odd.  A strange presence and goings on in the house with the mist and cold.  Quite a curse was put on the home. 

"You cannot love life until you live the life you love."
New User
lauriet
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎03-24-2009

Re: Ravenna

The cooking Ravenna is doing is sort of a way to keep her in the kitchen and not have to deal with Gabriels rejection and the unhappiness in that house. I think it gives her an escape and releases frustration for  her. her relationship with Merridia is a little strained but starting to unfold. she definatley shows glimpses of love for merridia. I think it will only grow as time goes by.As for Gabriel I think she is mad as hell at him but will not leave him because she still cares deeply for him she is quite torn.Her relationship with the house is not good either. I think she feels trapped just like her marriage. And she struggles  with all the Evil feelings of her husband. She just can`t find a way out of either.                                              
Distinguished Correspondent
PiperMurphy
Posts: 174
Registered: ‎09-19-2008

Re: Ravenna

I've just had another idea about why Ravenna cooks so much. The whole time she is cooking she is mumbling to herself about the other woman. Maybe the cooking represents this woman. She can't do anything about the woman, can't tell her how she fells, and can't do anything to relieve her anger. So, she beheads cauliflowers. I kind of hope that the two of them don't meet.
"When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes."
~Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus~
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Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ravenna

There is no harmony in this house and the kitchen that is supposed to nourish a family is the ultimate battlefield.
 

What wonderful phrasing! Great way to describe this heartbreaking kitchen!

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PinkPanther
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎10-26-2008
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Re: Ravenna

Personally, I do not like or dislike Ravenna. My impressions of her are that she went nuts after the mist broke into her house. She is described as being lost in her head for most of the time, and very forgetfull with seconds of recognition. I believe that this personality is connected with the fact that she is always in the kitchen. 

 

Traditionally, the kitchen has been where a female dominates. The man may dominate the house, but very rarely the kitchen. Ravenna spends her days in the kitchen because she nows that she will not be disturbed by her husband or her child (children are not wanted in kitchens either). I believe that she over cooks because cooking takes her mind off of the problems that she needs to deal with. When you cook, you need to pay attention to the food and the ingradients, so you do not have time to think of other things. 

 

"I ought, therefore I can"
-Immanuel Kant
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libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
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Re: Ravenna

I think Ravenna cooks because this is the one thing in the household that she can control.  The kitchen is her domain and she definitely reigns there.  Also, I think it is a distraction for her as well as an outlet for her frustrations with Gabriel.  I think feeding the family is not the primary reason for her time in the kitchen.

 

I think Ravenna has love for her daughter.  However, I am not sure she really knew that Maridia was there most of the time.  I liked the fact that she took Maridia's side about the marriage to Daniel.  She showed her strength and determination in the scene where she prepared the 18 meals for Gabriel and then destroyed all but one.   

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
Wordsmith
ponie
Posts: 359
Registered: ‎01-30-2009

Re: Ravenna

There are many posts regarding Ravenna cooking. 

I find it interesting that COOK means more than just to prepare food for a meal.

It can also mean:

happen: to be happening or developing --

I had the feeling that something was cooking.

be uncomfortable in heat: to feel extreme discomfort in hot conditions --

cooking in an overcrowded bus

change something in order to deceive: to alter or tamper with information or evidence fraudulently ( slang ) --

accountants who had cooked the books
work well: to be working or performing superbly ( slang ) --

It only took a couple of songs before the band was really cooking.

So, as many of us have commented already, the simple statement "Ravenna cooks" is not so simple a statement after all.

Much the same in Like Water for Chocolate, cooking is not just preparing the food.  It can be an avenue, an outlet, a distraction, a releasing of emotions or impulses, a way to "say something" / express something you (strongly) feel but you can't or shouldn't say but you can't not!!!   So Ravenna cooks!!!

 


ponie
Frequent Contributor
kboston
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎04-12-2008
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Re: Ravenna

Please describe your impressions of this extraordinary woman. Why does she cook more than her family can possibly eat? Cooking is often a sign of great domesticity--is this so for Ravenna?

 

 I believe that Ravenna is sad and deeply hurt about her relationship with her husband and daughter and the incident that took place when Meridia was a babyI haven't read ahead, so I do not know what the dark secret is that she has told Meridia that it is only a dreamShe cooks to hide her anger, shame and pain, it's a way for her to keep busy and possibly have a little bit of warmth (love or otherwise) that she hasn't had in her home in years.

 

What do you make of her relationship with her daughter? How do you see their relationship changing (if at all)?

 

She cares for Meridia, even though she acts as though she doesn't exist

 

What is her relationship with Gabriel like?

 

She still loves Gabriel, I don' t believe his infidelity would hurt her so much if she didn'tThey simply tolerate each person's existence

 

 

 

Contributor
EvaAmlia
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-31-2009

Re: Ravenna

The town, the house and the characters in this book strike me as extremely cryptic. I don't believe that these characters are truly who they appear to be. While Ravenna seems cold-hearted, I don't think that she actually is. Her little comments/actions show that she cares for her small family. Even though she babbles about having contempt for her husband, I think she does love him. My mom has always said that hate is not the opposite of love. Indifference is that opposite of love. If you hate someone it is only because you care for them.

 

Her attachment to cooking reminds me of Laura Esquivel's Like Water For Chocolate. Tita, the main character in the book pours her emotions into her cooking because she has no other way to communicate with her lover.

 

Ravenna seems disconnected from the present and completely stuck in her past. I think the cold temperature in the house is a reflection of Ravenna's spirit. Something in her is broken. Maybe when her heart is mended, heat will return to the house on Monarch Street.

Correspondent
joyfull
Posts: 50
Registered: ‎03-10-2009

Re: Ravenna

Someone earlier said that their feelings about Ravenna were complex. I agree. I want to like her, i feel sorry for her, but she's a bad mom. It took her 16 years to notice her daughter and fight with her husband for what she felt was good for Meridia. Why didn't she fight earlier?

 

She cared enough for her baby daughter to talk her into taking her first breath. Why didn't she care after that? 



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Margot
My blog: JoyfullyRetired.com
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nfam
Posts: 231
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: Ravenna

Ravenna is obviously a very unhappy woman. From the nurse's description she was very much in love with her husband, but the birth of the child, Meridia, drove them apart. He started having an affair. This must influence the way Ravenna sees Meridia. She's not unkind, but she ignores her. It's al though she has trouble being around her, possibly because being around her reminds her of how her troubles started.

 

Several people see Ravenna's cooking as anger. I think another explanation is that it's one way to create. The only place Ravenna can create is in the kitchen. Food isn't for eating in this household. Food is an expression of need and desire. I think Ravenna wants to love her daughter, but the circumstances make it impossible for them to be close. I believe that Ravenna would help her child if the opportunity arose.  

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Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ravenna

I agree-it is a very interesting concept. I had not considered that angle either...
Wordsmith
Deltadawn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ravenna, SPOILER ALERT

Thanks for the information! It gives added insight to these characters!
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ravenna


joyfull wrote:

Someone earlier said that their feelings about Ravenna were complex. I agree. I want to like her, i feel sorry for her, but she's a bad mom. It took her 16 years to notice her daughter and fight with her husband for what she felt was good for Meridia. Why didn't she fight earlier?

 

She cared enough for her baby daughter to talk her into taking her first breath. Why didn't she care after that? 


joyfull, don't you feel that Ravenna had a severe case of depression maybe from the misinterputations or communications of Gabriel and her . It seems that the failure of communications between the two of them brought on so much misery between them and of course it affected Meridia in a horrible way. I think Ravenna loved Meridia but couldn't see what she was doing to her daughter because of her constant grief over Gabriel's affair and the treatment Gabriel gave her for years.Sometimes people are caught up in their own selfish grief that they shove it to the children of the marriage without full recognition of what they are shoveling over them, sometimes burdening them deeper into grief than they are suffering. In whatever era or country this is written in, it was before parenting lessons and still there are  gravely limitations on the correctness of raising children correctly or not letting parents shortcomings get in the way of bringing up their children sometimes in a no win of situations.

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Immortal-Spirit
Posts: 143
Registered: ‎03-16-2009
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Re: Ravenna

The description of Revenna is very severe in appearance and absent-minded in emotion. What changed her to be this way? 

 

Cooking may be her way of escaping, or coping with what is going on around her.  I wouldn't say what her relationship is with Gabriel.  Very strained to say the least. But why?  Her relationship with her daughter changed, in my opinion, to give Maridia a chance to get out of there.  A chance at life.  Ravenna's relationship with the house is still a puzzle to me. 

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Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ravenna


Zeal wrote:

 

The cooking therapy reminds me of my mother's "ironing therapy."  Whenever my mom was depressed, angry or just plain fed up, she retreated to the basement laundry room until she worked out all of her emotions.  It was kind of our signal to leave her alone.  No one bothered her when she was ironing.  Mom's mood was usually much improved when she reappeared with overflowing hangers of freshly ironed clothes!


Love this note. I find that cleaning the kitchen can wipe out even the most existential blues!

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dk_phoenix
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎05-04-2009
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Re: Ravenna

I like the idea someone else mentioned, about cooking as perhaps a penance for her actions... it's an interesting thing to think about, why does she feel obligated to cook for Gabriel? I first thought maybe it was just a way to maintain some semblance of normalcy for her daughter while Meridia was growing up, but then she continued... and spoke her own strange language whilst doing so...

 

So I wonder if maybe it's the only part of her life that she can control, and so she continues to do it her way... almost like cooking is therapeutic? As if it's a private retreat, her own little world that she can disappear into, pour herself into, and no one can stop her or tell her otherwise. 

 

Ultimately, I'd say Ravenna behaves like she's depressed, but reacts to it on a slightly unconventional level.

Contributor
AMoriarty
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎12-20-2008

Re: Ravenna

First of all, I'd just like to say that I rather like the character of Ravenna! Some of her comments and curses are priceless! I want to incorporate them into my own verbiage. Mr. Setiawan commented that he had difficulty with the English language. I beg to differ! The descriptions, dialog and especially Ravenna's choice comments are wonderful. Poetic even. I enjoy reading her character whenever she appears.

 

As an Italian American, I have to say I think the cooking has to do with LOVE! Why else do we cook for our family if not to show how much we love them? Ravenna has some real issues with love for Gabriel. It appears she loves him so much she wants to kill him! I sense true marital discord that stems from two people who loved too much and have hurt each other deeply.

 

 

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Quzygirl
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎02-14-2008
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Re: Ravenna

I think that Ravenna is using her cooking as an outlet for all her frustrations and anger. Having dinner at home with Gabriel was her way of having some normalcy to her life even though it was far from normal. 

 

It seems that Ravenna snaps out of her "sorrow" when her daughter finds true love and she sees herself. Even though Ravenna is unable to truly show affection, she is stalwart in her protectionism. I wish there were more tenderness between them, but I did not expect it.