House of the Spirits

by Isabel Allende

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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 320

Isabel Allende writes about three generations of women who try to establish their independence from the domineering family patriarch, Esteban Trueba. At the same time, the novel depicts the turbulent political atmosphere of a country that closely resembles Allende's native home of Chile.

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1. Read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, to which The House of the Spirits has often been compared. Make a note of the comparisons and the differences between the two works. In an essay, argue whether or not Allende's work is more than just an imitation of Garcia Marquez's novel. Support your argument with examples.

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2. Research the history of Chile during the administration of Salvador Allende. Create a month-by-month time line that illustrates the major developments— such as strikes or congressional actions— that led to the fall of his government. In a different color, add events from the novel that correspond to these developments.

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Latest answer posted March 6, 2012, 2:57 pm (UTC)

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3. Do some research on the Internet and find a sampling of domestic violence statistics from various countries and cultures around the world. For those countries you select, also find out what kinds of laws protect the legal rights of women. Draw up a chart with your findings. Is there a correlation between women's legal status and domestic violence? Report your conclusion in a short essay.

4. Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has said the key to writing in the magic realist style is to report on fantastic events with a perfectly "straight face." Start with an everyday subject, like a day at school or a meeting with friends, and try writing your own short story in the style of "magical realism."

5. In The House of the Spirits, the character Clara demonstrates mental powers such as the ability to predict the future (clairvoyance), move objects (telekinesis), and communicate without words (telepathy). Investigate the history of such extrasensory perception (ESP). In an essay, compare previous scientific inquiries into ESP with what researchers believe today.

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