Critical Evaluation

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Born in Peru in 1942 and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende became one of Latin America’s foremost writers. Allende studied in private schools in Chile and was an avid reader of the works of William Shakespeare. In addition to Daughter of Fortune, she has written many novels, short stories, and memoirs, including La suma de los días (2007; The Sum of Our Days, 2008), Inés del alma mía (2006; Inés of My Soul, 2006), and La casa de los espíritus (1982; The House of the Spirits, 1985).

In Daughter of Fortune, Allende provides panoramic and historical perspectives on the California gold rush, U.S. and Chinese history, and the familial dynamics operating in nineteenth century Chile. The novel offers a broad panorama of violence, death, love, and compassion as depicted through both the major and the minor protagonists of this epic tale. Eliza personalizes the courageous, unconventional, and extraordinarily self-sufficient nineteenth century heroine who independently embarks on an adventure in a foreign country to find her lover.

Although she is true to her original romantic purpose, Eliza soon discovers that her quest is for freedom and personal identity. In the end, she realizes that she is not in love with Joaquin and that she needs to forge her own future in America. These realizations eventually change her outlook, as she begins to see California as a...

(The entire section is 548 words.)