In House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, conflicting political views between socialists seeking reform and conservative politicians fighting to retain power drives a plot resembling the social unrest and the Coup d‚Äô√©tat that occurred in Chile during the 1970s. Allende weaves together a story spanning over several generations in a family divided by political views and values. This divide helps to parallel the divide slowly tearing the social classes apart in the society of the novel. It becomes the epicenter of the novel when that the conflict between the peasants and the aristocracy no longer remains bubbling beneath the surface, but becomes poised to boil over into a revolution. With Esteban representing the face of corrupt, conservative power and his family commonly coming in opposition with him to represent the socialist counterparts, Allende displays her particular beliefs on the social unrest in Chile and the fallout from political rebellion. Through careful foreshadowing persuaded by object symbolism and a tone of sympathetic explanation on the part of tragic events woven throughout the plot of this novel, Allende tirelessly works to influence the views of the reader as the individual traipses through the masterfully strung words depicting a story of social turmoil and rebellion.
This novel is perhaps best symbolized by the big house on the corner. This house, built with the unique style of both Esteban and Clara, meets a compromise of status and eccentric tastes. This house's style truly represents the unique characteristics of Esteban and Clara. Esteban's hunger for power is represented by the status of such a large accommodation in a home, aptly nicknamed "the big house on the corner". Equipped with windows that were unable to be opened and twisting staircases that led no where, Clara's mystical yet often mysterious qualities are physically manifested in this construction. These two characters foil one another, often representing the conflicting sides of the revolution as a whole. Much like the twisting staircases, this novel embodies turbulent twists of fate and tragedy that spark the ne plus ultra ending to several generations of tense conflict. This conflict of classes remains loyal as an underlying theme throughout the whole of the novel. As describing the upper class as those "whose hands were concentrated all the power and wealth," the monumental rift between the upper and lower classes is ever-present. With clear declaration that this upper class "was unaware of the danger that threatened the fragile equilibrium of their position," the conflict that erupts towards the end of the novel is foreshadowed clearly. This serves the purpose to set unease in the reader and introduce the main conflict in such a way that two sides are pitted unknowingly against one another. With Esteban representing the upper class of wealth and power, his succinct characterization becomes defined by his remorseless rape of the women on Tres Marias early on in the novel. Though quickly defined as a despicable figure, Allende's subtle lack of clear condemnation of Esteban's character puts the weight of his indiscretions on the corruption power can impose on an individual. This leads the reader to oppose the circumstances as much as the actions of Esteban, persuading the reader's view to focus on the inequality as a whole. Rather than harsh reproach to the lack of humanity in many of Esteban's considerations, the author cleverly and subtly hints at sympathetic explanation towards the true cause of such great corruption. The redirect to the cultural circumstances, perhaps greatly represented after Pancha's rape, where the reader learns she "had suffered the same animal fate" as her previous generations, puts into perspective the choking commonality of abuse towards individuals of a lower class, especially towards woman. This