House of Spirits - Ghost, Spirits, Supernatural Women

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The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende is captivating novel full of the supernatural and realistic sides of the Trueba women. Allende’s use of the supernatural heightens suspense, enhances the setting, and complicates the plot (Jenkins). The novel goes through three generations of women each one more involved with spirits than the previous. Clara is the mother of Blanca and grandmother of Alba which expresses the realism of spirits as Clara passes on. Allende uses her experiences as a woman to personify them through the three generations, emphasizing the bond between the three in form of ghosts and spirits and illustrates their power through their silence and voice truly creating a threat to the society. The silence allows for them to be in total control of every situation at all times. With her supernatural powers, Clara is the spark for the revolutionary change in the Trueba family and surrounding society. Her silence is a weapon against Esteban in which he knows he cannot control. Here role in the story is vital to the development of the plot, Clara in Spanish means clear or purity, also it is known for clairvoyance, in which Clara does portray all these qualities in that she, despite her experience, is pure and will never become tainted for she can see into the future and may play off that as a form of warning. In the novel, she knows that she will become best friends with Esteban’s sister, but at the same time she understands that her death will come sooner than expected. Her Special powers also make her common tasks more difficult. Yet she does yield a tremendous amount of responsibility and power with her voice alone. Such authority, especially where the supernatural is incorporated into cultural beliefs and experiences, proves a genuine challenge to patriarchal authority (Jenkins). “Women writers use supernatural or fantastic to recreate reality and traditional evaluative standards prescribing a formal realism “(Jenkins). This statement is true in that...
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