Comparison of Attitudes Towards Marriage in A Hero of Our Time versus The House of the Spirits

Comparison of Attitudes Towards Marriage in A Hero of Our Time versus The House of the Spirits

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Marriage, often thought of as a sacred union of the utmost importance, is portrayed in both A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, and The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, as a minor issue rather than a key part of the lives of the main characters. Marriage is unimportant to both main characters Pechorin and Clara. Lermontov uses Pechorin?s refusal of commitment, while being an object of desire and passion, to illustrate that men should keep their independence from women to protect their power. On the other hand, Allende uses Clara?s priorities of spirituality and children above her husband and marriage to suggest that women?s power does not depend on men.
Clara becomes married, recognizing that she will keep the freedom she had before marriage, while Pechorin is immediate in rejecting commitment because of his fear that it will stifle his independence. After being married to Esteban Trueba, Clara is unmoved and remains distant, putting the diamond jewels her new husband gave her ?in a shoe box, and quickly [forgetting] where she put it?(Allende, 95). She knows that being married to Esteban is her destiny and is not excited by her role as a married woman. During their honeymoon, Esteban realizes that Clara does not in fact belong to him and she would not trade her ?world of apparitions? simply for him (Allende, 96). He tries many times to win her over with presents of jewelry and candy and expressing his affection but Clara?s manner towards her marriage does not change, while her otherworldly magic and knowledge increases and develops. Over the course of time Allende shows how Esteban grows dependent Clara, eventually ?hound[ing] her? for attention (Allende, 180). On the contrary, Lermontov demonstrates Pechorin?s mascul...


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... should be more powerful than women because of men?s ability to control their emotions and the weak-mindedness of females.
Although both authors gave their characters similar opinions of marriage, the reasons for their views are very different and achieve opposite results in the novels. Clara unknowingly builds up the distance between herself and her husband, which Allende uses to suggest that women can be more powerful when they are independent from men. Pechorin does not even attempt marriage but rather detaches himself from any woman who might want to marry him because of Lermontov?s views that women can be the downfall of any great man. While Allende comments on the importance of feminine independence, Lermontov explains that while lust and desire is natural to men, marriage is unneeded and confusing, pulling men away from their place of dominance over women.

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