How does magical realism in The House of The Spirits affect its tone as well as different aspects and themes?
Magic realism challenges the traditional parameters of pre-modernist perspectives in fiction. It suggests that lives are not ordered or organised on either rational or god-given lines. In a sense, magic realism is a fictional recognition of randomness; the principles, if you prefer, of chaos mathematics. To the author it allows and promotes the willing suspension of disbelief in his or her readers (diegesis).
Thus the tone of this novel becomes post modernist (with all the connections that has with critical literacy and the sense of reader postioning and resistant readings). Thematically the magic realism of THotS - much of it centred on death and spirits and the afterlife - ties in with Allende's visons of power and status and the denial of such to women in a patriarchal society (which they subvert via mediums and spiritualism and so on). Life is not ordered... and in this novel it is certainly not ordered along the lines that its key male figures would like.