House of the Spirits Essay

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I don't agree with Lehmann- Haupt’s statement that the novel "House of the Spirits" is just "a novel to lecture [the reader] about political repression". Surely, the theme of the novel is not simply about the agony of repression, but about how the changes of social ideals in the minds of four strong feminist women can be reflected on the level of political revolution. These women, whose experiences, achievements and losses, force and weakness, whose desires and hatres intertwine in social inequailty and sexism, are described over four generations of the Trueba family. Throughout the novel Allende shows a slow change and development of feminist values in society and how the increasing power of women affect the men's attitudes. Although Esteban Trueba, the dominant masculine character, states at the beginning of the novel that "women don't know that two and two are four and [...] their duty is motherhood and the home"; the reader sees his view change as the novel progresses as he is being influenced by all the strong-minded Trueba women and female characters, who convince him of their equal abilities. In the end, he is aware of the fact "that not all women [are] complete idiots", as he suggests his granddaughter Alba that she would be able to "enter one of the professions and make her living like a man". All in all the intention of Allende is not only to teach about political repression and "Chile's peaceful socialist revolution and violent militeristic counterrevolution", as Lehmann- Haupt claims, but also about how the incidents in the four generations of the Trueba family mirror the changes of social ideals

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