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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 202

The hereditary blood disease, porphyria, has its own rich mythological background. Investigate both the fiction and the facts about this rare illness. Discuss the reality and mythology of the disease in terms of the depiction of Paula as a character in the book.

Select a few culturally specific narratives that negotiate a period of historical trauma. Such narratives might arise out of wars, like the Vietnam War or the Korean Conflict, or genocide, such as the Holocaust or the Indian Wars in the American West. How do narratives reveal variations in the representation of trauma based on their purpose (e.g. historical works, sociological studies, and fictional accounts)?

The interest amongst Americans in their genealogy exploded during the 1990s. Investigate this recent interest in terms of best-selling works, like Allende’s, that emphasize family trees.

Although Paula reflects the author’s Chilean heritage, in what ways does her work also take part in the creation of an international literature? How does Allende continue the spirit of ‘‘El Boom’’?

What is Marxism and why has it receded as a viable alternative to capitalism? What was so unique about the experience of Marxism in Chile compared to other attempts to create a socialist state?

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