The novel “The House of the Spirits” was written in 1982 by a successful Latin American novelist Isabel Allende. The book had a great success and later on was cinematized, mostly due to the intricate plot and an epic story of three generations of a family. Describing difficult and mostly miserable life of all the members of the family, the author covers many important topics, such as the struggle between classes and the importance of knowing one’s genealogy. However, the central theme of the novel is the role of women in society and in family life.
Therefore, Isabel Allende focuses her attention on three women who managed to save their families and as a result the whole kin. All of them, Clara, Blanca and Alba, united the family with their love and care and all of them had to bear humiliation of men, particularly of the patriarch of their kin Esteban Trueba.
All of these three women deserve respect, but I admire Alba, Esteban’s granddaughter. Not in vain her name means “dawn”. She became a light shining in the darkness for her family. Despite all the troubles that fell to her lot, she managed to stand up to them. Her love for her family, her strong character and righteousness helped her to stay alive and sane in spite of rapes and tortures. All her life Alba had to struggle – at first for her love, then for her life and dignity. She was pursued by Esteban Garcia, who tortured her
Alba did not see Esteban Garcia again until he was standing next to her in the university parking lot, but she could never forget him. She told no one of that repulsive kiss or of the dreams that she had afterward, in which Garcia appeared as a green beast that tried to strangle her with his paws and asphyxiate her by shoving a slimy tentacle down her throat (Allende 352).
She was told that her beloved had been killed, she was arrested and spent much time in detention. However, she managed to preserve that very light inside her, which helped her to survive. Being a wise woman, despite all difficulties she managed to unite their family, to find common language with her grandfather and to start telling the story of their family “to reclaim the past and overcome terrors of my own” (Allende 408).
Throughout the novel all the women suffer from the tyranny of men. One of the most unprincipled and cruel characters in the novel is Esteban Trueba, whom I despise. For him there are no notions of nobleness, mercy, helpfulness. His interests are money and satisfaction of his desires. Even his love to children and hi wife become an obsession and does nothing but harm to them. His cruelty touches everybody around him. He tortures his workers, he uses many of them for his sexual satisfaction. He can work hard but his main aim is money and nothing more. He is unscrupulous in his methods of earning this money. He is a masterful man and he got used to the execution of all his orders, therefore he always achieves his goals by all means. As he becomes older he understands his mistakes and he is not as blinded as before. The only person with whom he manages to find common language is Alba. Due to her kind heart, Alba manages to arouse tenderness even in violent Esteban.
To make a conclusion, in the novel the author narrated the story of the whole kin and the role of women in it. Speaking about the most prominent characters of the novel, the most bright and positive is Alba, while Esteban is the incarnation of the oppression and humiliation that women of the family had to withstand.