Women's Roles in House of the Spirits

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The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende demonstrates the importance of the parts women play in Latin America during the 1900’s. The story is about a Latin American community as they struggle with social hierarchies, freedom, and political chaos. Women are generally lower than men in the story, which they struggle with during the whole book. The role of women in the book House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende portrays women’s involvement, struggles, and achievements. The central and significant role of women in this book plays an important aspect throughout the story as women take on the jobs of housekeeping, care taking, cleaning, cooking, gardening, etc. In her novel, Allende portrays women as the ones who mostly belong in the domestic realm where they take care of the children, elderly, and sick, while the men belong exploring the world and doing whatever they want in life. This might prove that women’s involvement in the outside world (other than the home) is very low and not accepted. They might play roles such as the housekeeper, cook, nanny, or cleaner. For example, Allende writes about Esteban’s thoughts on what roles’ women deserve to play, "It would go against nature. If women don't know that two and two are four, how are they going to be able to handle a scalpel? Their duty is motherhood and the home. At the rate they're going, the next thing you know they'll be asking to be deputies, judges – even President of the Republic!” (67). Esteban Trueba states that it wouldn’t be morally or ethically correct for a women to have any other job than a caretaker, especially not something as honorable as a judge or a political profession. From a woman's perspective, Allende explains how most wish they had the freedom of a man, “I would have liked to be born a man, so I could leave too” (45). Ferula envies her brother, Esteban, when she tells him that she
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