Isabel Allende’s a house of spirits

Isabel’s novel ‘House of Spirits’ tells the story of the Trueba family, who are surrounded by passion, hate, a desire for riches and strength, a desire for vengeance, and poverty all at the same time. Clara, her husband, Esteban Trueba, their children Blanca and the twin sons, Jaime and Nicolas, and their granddaughter Alba are the main characters in the novel. Clara has an exceptional talent for foreseeing the future, and she begins by foreseeing the death of her sister Rosa, who is engaged to Esteban Trueba prior to her death (Allende 8). Trueba focuses his energies after Rosa’s death on making a fortune from his family’s farm, Tres Marias. Later, Trueba married Clara after accumulating enough wealth, and they together lived in a big house that Trueba built for his family.

However, while working at the mines, Esteban was engaged in unacceptable behavior, where he sexually exploited the peasants’ daughters, particularly Pancha, who ended up bearing a son for him. Esteban also engaged in sexual relations with prostitutes and ended up establishing a strong relationship with one of the prostitutes, Transito Soto. Esteban’s irresponsible behavior with women became a matter of concern to his mother, who wished for Esteban to get married and raise legitimate children, a factor that prompted him to marry Clara. Esteban and Clara’s first child, Blanca, is engaged in a love affair with Pedro Tercero as teenagers and their love grows to the point Blanca becomes expectant with Pedro’s child, Alba.

Pedro Tercero is the son of Pedro Segundo, Esteban’s foreman at the family’s property. Esteban finds it embarrassing for her daughter to get married to a poor man and organizes for her marriage to Jean de Satigny, a French count who is interested in becoming Esteban’s business partner (Allende 203). However, Blanca soon leaves Satigny after discovering his unending sexual relations with other women. Apart from the struggles at the family unit, Esteban is also politically engaged, and he highly conflicts with Pedro Tercero, who is a revolutionary, while he is a conservative. In the elections that followed, the socialists won elections, giving Pedro Tercero an opportunity to join the government, while peasants took over Tres Marias.

One of the key themes that emerge from the story includes class struggle, whereby the characters are divided into the peasants and the rich. The Esteban’s family represented the wealthy class, which possessed large family fortunes that enabled them to grow their wealth by exploiting the poor. On the other hand, Pedro’s family, and other peasants represented the poor class, who constantly struggled to accumulate wealth by working for the rich. The class struggle is demonstrated to be so intense in that the peasants decided to join the socialist political movement to advance the needs of the poor and oppressed, and which sought to oppose the ideas of the wealthy ruling class. The dissatisfaction with the ruling class is demonstrated by the peasant’s move to take over Tres Marias, whose owner, Esteban had for a long time oppressed the peasants, both physically and emotionally. Further, the peasant’s move to take over the property demonstrated elements of greed and desire for wealth. The fact that they had power gave them the ability to acquire wealth, which they had struggled to gain over the years with little success due to the exploitative nature of the wealthy, such as Esteban.

Further, the incidence brings out the theme of wealth and power, where the two elements are portrayed to go hand in hand. For instance, before the Socialists won elections, the peasants worked under the exploitative working conditions that Esteban provided for the peasants. However, with the socialists’ ascent to power, the peasants gained the courage to take over Tres Marias, since the power gave them confidence in acquiring the wealth that they deemed to belong to them. On the other, the loss of the revolutionists left Esteban powerless, and similarly his wealth was taken over, since the lack of power denied him the strength to protect his property.

Moreover, the theme of love, hatred, and revenge emerges in the story, where Blanca and Alba bring out the element of true love, where they pursue their love despite the surrounding challenges of political affiliations and class differences. Blanca, despite the fact that she belonged to the wealthy class; she truly loved Pedro Tercero, a poor peasant, whose father was Blanca’s foreman. On the other hand, Alba loved Miguel, to the extent that she supported him as a revolutionary, and she failed to support her grandfather’s political ambitions, whereby her grandfather belonged to the conservative government. On the other hand, the element of hatred and revenge emerges where Esteban Garcia, Esteban Trueba’s illegitimate son molests Alba, as he felt jealous of the fact that she lived in affluence, yet he suffered as a peasant’s son, despite being the son of a rich man (Esteban Garcia 210). Moreover, Esteban Garcia repeatedly raped Alba when she was arrested as the military sought to eliminate the opposing parties, which indicated revenge on behalf of his mother, whom Esteban Trueba raped, leading to his birth.

Works Cited

Allende, Isabel, and Magda Bogin. The house of the spirits : a novel. New York: Atria Paperback, 2015. Print.

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