House of Spirits

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In her famous The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende documents the life of several characters during the Chilean reality in the 1930s. Her notorious feminist ideology is, at times, extremely obvious. Elements such as the clash of social classes and the social, political and economical conditions of Chile during this period of high turmoil are also well portrayed. Isabel Allende achieves to give us a good image of what life in Chile was like during those years. Some particular characters specially exemplify all of these elements very clearly.
Allende’s character Esteban Trueba has a very intricate life. Through his triumphs and defeats and through the different places of this novel, Allende portrays several elements that clearly exemplify historical, political and economic events in Chile. Esteban’s life is that of the low class in Chile. He usually longs for power and money to make good things happen. After leaving, his mother and sister, and starting a new and independent life, Esteban’s ideology changes dramatically. For the first time he directly experiments success and wealth. He feels as if he has no problems, mainly because he does not have a family to weigh him down. Trueba's move to Three Marias seems to appease his hunger temporarily, before his monstrous, demanding, and ever growing needs overwhelms him. The type of lifestyle achieved by Esteban Trueba in Three Marias far surpassed that of living with his mother and sister, however only brief moments of satisfaction are incurred. These, previously mentioned, moments created a hunger for perfection and greed that would continue perpetuate at any cost. Only when Trueba receives a letter from Ferula does he remember his life with her and his mother, which forces him to endure his memories of poverty and pain. He even remembers the smell of medicine, which had encompassed their home. These memories force Esteban to reflect on the reasons and ideas that made him leave his origins. He reminisces on that portion of his life, occupied by the deterioration of his family.
Esteban’s case represents that of the oppressed, poor class that is constantly struggling to survive. This struggle for survival becomes so pressing that they start thinking how, if they got the chance, could make things better. They usually fight a lot, but finally, when they reach the position of helping, power becomes their obsession...

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...rayal of Nivea and her funeral is in direct contrast with that of Nana and Ferula. Nana is said to have: "...been born to cradle other people's children, wear their hand-me-down clothing, eat their left overs, live on borrowed happiness and grief, grow old beneath other people's roofs die one day in her miserable little room in the far courtyard in a bed that did not belong to her, and be buried in a common grave in a public cemetery."(P 57) The fact that: "None of the many children she had raised with so much love attended her funeral."(P 178) Allende reflects sadly on the women who meekly accept their defined role in society of the time. Ferula is portrayed similarly. Ferula: "...had sacrificed her life to care for the mother, and that she had become a spinster for that reason. Ferula had turned down two suitors on the pretext of her mothers illness"(P 178) When Esteban forces her to leave she is not seen in person until her death when she is found: "Festooned like an Austrian queen..." "She was magnificent in her queenly desolation, and on her face was an expression of sweetness and serenity she never had in her grievous life."
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