House of Spirits - Epigraph by Pablo Neruda

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How much does a man live, after all?
Does he live a thousand days, or one only?
For a week, or for several centuries?
How long does a man spend dying?
What does it mean to say "for ever"?
Q: How does the epigraph relate to the greater message in the novel? An epigraph is a quotation, phrase or motto at the beginning of a piece of literary work, thus setting forth a theme for the piece of literature. In this case, this epigraph gives the readers a small gist and theme of what to expect when they read the novel. “The House of Spirits” is a novel which was written by Isabel Allende. This story revolves around family life, mainly around two upper-class families; the Del Valle and the Trueba family and was originally written in Spanish, then translated to many different languages, English being one. The story is set in a Latin-American country. The epigraph by Pablo Neruda has a much deeper meaning which the reader has to implore. In a nut-shell, the epigraph talks about two things; life and death. Pablo Neruda is Chilean by nationality, which may also suggest that this ‘Latin country’ we thing the novel is set in, may very well be Chile. The first line asks a question which when thought about, not many people have an answer to. Together with the second line, we can reflect to the novel because even though we may exaggerate and say we live a thousand years, the crucial events that define an individual’s life take place in the matter of just a few days and at the end of the day it is those events that decide the fate of a person’s life. We can connect this to the novel by using the example of Esteban Trueba and Clara, when after he hits her, she decides not to speak to him, nor to use her maiden name and never to wear their wedding ring ever again. It was that one moment that sealed their fate, and their real personality was reflected. “For a week, or for several centuries?”- this line makes us think, how one small contribution to the world can...
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