Throughout human history women have played an important role in society. In the novel
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, the author portrays women as essentially important to everyday life as prostitutes, caregivers, helpers, slaves, spiritualist, and more. For example, Clara whom was very dependant on her Nana to make her life easier. Nana would care for her and run the house for her. While, a counter example,
Esteban Trueba did not depend on women for anything. Esteban Trueba was very independant, and liked doing things himself rather than have someone else doing them for him. He only depended on his sister to take care of his ill mother. Throughout this novel women are oppressed by men and their power. In this novel women can have an opinion but it would never be heard. They have no voice nor power over anything. One essential characteristic in a women is a caregiver. Isabel Allende uses Nana to portray a caregiver. Alot of people were dependant on Nana not only emotionally but physically as well. Nana was always there to make their lives easier. She was a big caregiver “they were her souvenirs of all the del Valle and Trueba children she had cradled in her arms. Under the bed they found a bundle that contained the costumes nana had used to frighten clara her years of silence. Seated on the cot with these treasures in her lap, Clara wept for a long time for this women who had devoted her entire life to making those of others more agreeable, and who had died alone” (168).
Nana was the one who kept the house running and the workers on their feet. But ”the death of Nana, who despite her age was in charge of the big house on the corner when the owners were away… without her vigilance, they neglected their duties and began to spend their time in an orgy of siestas and gossip, while the plants went dry for lack of watering and the spiders filled the dusty corners of the house. the deterioration was so obvious that Clara decided to shut down and dismiss everyone”(167). This shows how
Nana was highly important to everyone in the house and how her death changed their life around. Not only was she the one who kept the workers of the house doing what they had to do, she was also very very important to Clara. Nana was a big part of Claras childhood because Nana was like a mother to her. Another character Isabel Allende uses to demonstrate the ways of a caregiver or helper is Ferula. Ferula and Clara were very close. Ferula demonstrated plenty love and affection towards Clara. But in all her years of living Clara had never really responded the same towards her. When Ferula died clara “kissed her on the forehead, just as
Ferula had kissed her only a few hours earlier in her own dining room, and then she calmly proceeded to improvise the rites of the dead. She undressed her, washed her, meticulously soaping her without missing a single crevice. Rubbed her with cologne,
dusted her with powder, lovingly brushed her remaining four strands of hair”(151). This shows how Clara was “returning to her in death the infinite attentions that ferula had given her in life”(151). Claras actions demonstrate how she wanted to return to Ferula all that love and caring attention Ferula had given to her in life. Ferulas love went far beyond anything and anyone. These two characters show love, care, loyalty, and patience toward Clara. Clearly Clara was a very important person in their lives. After their death Clara is sure to forever cherish the memories. Another characteristic Isabel Allende uses to portray women is feminism. The big idea a woman has of being independant and not having the need of a man to feel secure in any way. A character who demonstrates feminist ideas is Nivea. Nivea, wife of Severo del Valle, who was not very religious, but did share “her husbands parliamentary ambitions”(3), hoped that one day “she would finally secure the vote for women, for which she…