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Portrayal of Real Life Latin American Women in Literature - Book Report/Review Example

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The House of the Spirits is about women coping in a man's world. The novel was set in the first half of the century in Latin America where and when the social hierarchy in this patriarchal society was largely deemed "anti-women". It was at a time when Latin American women were prominently relegated to the traditional role of subservience, and a time when women face so much prejudice against breaking out of their superimposed gender roles fixed on them by their culture.
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Portrayal of Real Life Latin American Women in Literature
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Download file to see previous pages At age nineteen, Clara sees her future is with Esteban Trueba and decides she will "marry without love." (Allende, 90) If she is not into her paranormal activities, "Clara divided her time between the sewing workshop, the general store, and the school, where she established her headquarters for treating mange and lice, untangling the mysteries of the alphabet, teaching the children to sing "I have a dairy cow, she's not just any cow," and the women to boil milk, cure diarrhea, and bleach clothes." (105) She works to educate the people on the plantation, trying to teach the women and children about equality, hygiene and literacy.
As the oldest child and only daughter of Esteban and Clara, Blanca is very close to her mother. She is still a child when she first meets Pedro Tercero at Tres Maras, and she runs naked to play with the boy and falls asleep on his stomach. This incident foretells their future relationship, when they become lovers and are discovered in the same position by Esteban. The uproar when her father discovers their relationship causes the family to split apart. When Esteban discovers her daughter Blanca is pregnant, he forces her to marry Count Jean de Satigny. Being of pragmatic character, Blanca tries to make the most of her marriage until she discovers the Count's unusual hobby. For a time she refuses to reunite with Pedro Tercero until the turn of events forces them to flee the country. Blanca ends up a successful artist in Canada, living "completely fulfilled in the peace of satisfied love" with Pedro Tercero. (400)
Alba is the product of Blanca's illicit affair with Pedro Tercero. Born feet first and with a tiny star-shaped mark on her back, Clara predicts that "she (Alba) will be lucky and she will be happy." (262) Like her grandmother, she has a wild imagination and generous spirit. For as a young adult, she smuggles food supplies out to the poor and also gives many of the weapons hidden by her grandfather to Miguel's guerilla movement. After the coup, she helps victims of political persecution find asylum. Because of these endeavors, the secret police seize her in the middle of the night. She is tortured, but a vision of Clara convinces her that survival should be her goal. Alba recovers and begins to write and recreates the family story.
Gender Inequality
"Since when has a man not beaten his wife Since when has a woman ever done the same things as a man"(106) These are questions that the women that Clara is teaching threw back at her.
In the Latin context, the roles of women are greatly overshadowed by men. Like in any dominantly patriarchal society women are undervalued and their abilities are underestimated. In several entries, we see lines reflecting gender inequality, such as "Following the custom of the women (of her kind) who bow their heads before the male" (57), and "Even though they (women) worked as equals with the men, the women did not receive this sum because, except ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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