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Despair, the feeling of great hopelessness and anguish, is the catalyst for pivotal character development in Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel and Perfume, by Patrick Süskind. Both protagonists are meld by the experience of despair, albeit in different regards. The precipitation of despair itself is primarily rooted in the postponing of despair, wherein it leads Grenouille to blazon realizations on the futility of capturing the perfect scent, exacerbating his hatred for humanity. Contrastingly, despair in Like Water for Chocolate functions as an impetus for Tita’s growth as an individual independent from restrictions imposed by Mama Elena. Both novels are set in socio-politically tumultuous times, pre-revolutionary France and revolutionary Mexico, reflecting the two protagonists’ inner rejection of their respective societal conventions. This becomes another major conflict, resulting in despairfor the two protagonists, thereby impelling character growth and development. Both books begin with the protagonists’ births, one a grisly affair that took place in a 17th French fishmarket and the other an improbable scenario where one was literally “washed into the world.”1 In Like Water for Chocolate, Tita, who was, “washed into this world in a tide of tears,”2 was the result of an unconsummated affair, with the hyperbolic emphasis on ‘tide of tears,’ accentuating the tragic nature of her birth.The powerful imagery created by the alliteration brings into focus the uncertaint...