Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 418
There are many different types of fortunes discussed in Isabel Allende's novel, some made in gold mines, some made in prostitution, others made in the ownership of land. But what kind of fortune do you think Allende refers to when she titles her book Daughter of Fortune? She most certainly is alluding to Eliza as the daughter, but what is Eliza's fortune? Back up your answer with specific instances from the novel.
Research the story of Ah Toy. Did she really import young girls and force them to be prostitutes? Were there no laws to protect them? Are there current laws in California that would prevent the same thing from happening today? Research the prostitute rings in Thailand that are similar to the business that Ah Toy was running. Are there any groups or laws that are trying to protect the young Thai women?
Write a paper about the progression of rights of women in Chile from the beginning of the nineteenth century until today. How have they changed? Are there any leaders who stand out? How does the feminist movement differ from the one in the United States? Are women freer in Chile? Did they gain any rights earlier than womenin the United States? What are some of the statistics of women in business in Chile? In politics?
What were the sailing vessels like that traveled from South America to California in 1850? Find illustrations not just of the outside of a ship that would be comparable to the one that Eliza sailed on but also of the inside structure. How did all the people and animals and cargo fit in the ship? How much room did the passengers have to walk around? What would their daily routine have been like while at sea? What about the crew? What kinds of jobs would they have held? What kind of food did they eat? What are the statistics of deaths aboard such ships?
Create a journal as if you were Eliza during the course of her sea voyage. What do you think must have been going through her mind? Imagine how you would have felt to have been enclosed in such a small cabin for so long, swaying with the waves, afraid of dying but almost equally scared to face yet another day in such dismal conditions. Remember how protected her life had been: she had hardly ever been out of her house alone, yet now she was sailing to another country. What do you think kept her alive?
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