In Isabel Allende’s first novel, La casa de los espíritus the reader is introduced to her use of magic as a means which enables women to feel “sustained in times of difficulty” and which “provides them with a power base” (Bennett, C. 2003:174).
Interestingly, the women’s connection with the spiritual and magical stands in contrast to the men’s rejection of anything that doesn’t adhere to their strict perception of morbid reality. Therefore, Allende quite clearly outlines “magical properties as essentially feminine” (Shaw, D. 1997:116) and spirituality in all its forms as a “province of the female of the species” (Hart, S. 2005:275) only. It can be argued that women and magic …show more content…
Allende’s novel thereby shows how through the generations, the women of the del Valle family become more active and assertive in matters previously reserved for the males of the species.
Furthermore, it should be mentioned that despite the women’s development through the generations, they still have magic (or the memory of it) to fall back on in times of need. When Alba is being tortured by Colonel García for example, she finds refuge when Clara appears to her and “trajo la idea salvadora de escribir con el pensamiento” (La casa de los espíritus, 434). Thanks to her grandmother’s ‘magic’ she is therefore able to psychologically escape her brutal surroundings and no longer allows herself to be terrorized by García- she is ““más allá de su poder” (La casa de los espíritus, 435). This brings up the notion that regardless of being more extrinsically oriented than her grandmother, Alba nonetheless draws strength from her memories of Clara, “la persona más importante […] y la presencia más fuerte de su vida […]. Ella era el motor que ponía en marcha y hacía funcionar aquel universo mágico […] (La casa de los espíritus, 297). The women in the novel are therefore able to maintain the ability to escape and fight male dominance throughout the generations thanks to their spirituality and magic, in a society which initially deems “silence as the appropriate expression of