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The House of the Spirits (1993) - IMDb

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The House of the Spirits: A Novel - Kindle edition by Isabel Allende
has been accused of everything from literary piracy to political exploitation for The House of the Spirits, which was published in Spain in 1982 and translated into English in 1985. The book follows four generations of a Chilean family and their involvement with the turbulent political events of the 1970s. Though it was her debut novel, The House of the Spirits became an instant best seller and won several awards in Chile, the author's native country.

Regarded as one of the most prominent examples of Latin American magical realism, many critics describe The House of the Spirits as a sort of feminist twist on 's One Hundred Years of Solitude. The two novels bear such similarity of style that some scholars accuse Allende of being unoriginal, or even ripping off the Colombian author; on the other hand, many defend Allende for mastering a genre said to be distinctively Latin American, while at the same time lending it her own original and decidedly feminine perspective.

Though it's a work of fiction, the tales in The House of the Spirits bear a lot of resemblance to events of the author's own life – in fact, the novel's first manuscript was a letter to Allende's dying grandfather. Isabel's father was the cousin of , the first Socialist to be elected President of Chile. Plus, the violent political uprising that takes place in the unnamed country of the novel is universally understood to be an account of the military coup led against Salvador Allende's Socialist government by on September 11, 1973. (That's where the allegations of political exploitation come in – some critics accuse Allende of using her family's last name and political history to sell books. We cry foul. They're just jealous.)

While calling it a testimonial may be a bit of a stretch, The House of the Spirits is certainly a personal novel. The author has gone on record as saying that she often uses real people as models for her characters, and it's possible that we catch glimpses of her clairvoyant grandmother, her son Nicolás, her ex-husband Miguel, and even the author herself in the text's pages.

Sexism’s Role in The House of the Spirits – Poesy

The House of the Spirits Characters | GradeSaver
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The House of the Spirits - IB English III - Scribd
The youngest daughter of Severo and Ní­vea del Valle, whose name means "clear." She is a clairvoyant who can communicate with spirits, read dreams, and predict the future. Clara also has a corresponding disregard for material things. From childhood, she develops a habit of staying silent for extended periods of time when she is distraught. She marries Esteban Trueba, with whom she has Blanca, Ní­colas, and Jaime. As matriarch of the Trueba household, she brings a great joy that goes with her when she dies.

The House of the Spirits | Introduction & Overview
The house continued to grow and by 1906, it had reached a towering seven stories tall. Sarah continued her occupancy, and expansion, of the house, living in melancholy solitude with no one other than her servants, the workmen and, of course, the spirits. It was said that on sleepless nights, when she was not communing with the spirit world about the designs for the house, Sarah would play her grand piano into the early hours of the morning. According to legend, the piano would be admired by passers-by on the street outside, despite the fact that two of the keys were badly out of tune.

The most tragic event occurred within the house when the great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 struck. When it was all over, portions of the Winchester Mansion were nearly in ruins. The top three floors of the house had collapsed into the gardens and would never be rebuilt. In addition, the fireplace that was located in the Daisy Room (where Mrs. Winchester was sleeping on the night of the earthquake) collapsed, shifting the room and trapping Sarah inside. She became convinced that the earthquake had been a sign from the spirits who were furious that she had nearly completed the house. In order to insure that the house would never be finished, she decided to board up the front 30 rooms of the mansion so that the construction would not be complete - and also so that the spirits who fell when portion of the house collapsed would be trapped inside forever.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende | LibraryThing

But her new-found wealth could do nothing to ease her pain. Sarah grieved deeply, not only for her husband, but also for her lost child. A short time later, a friend suggested that Sarah might speak to a Spiritualist medium about her loss. "Your husband is here," the medium told her and then went on to provide a description of William Winchester. "He says for me to tell you that there is a curse on your family, which took the life of he and your child. It will soon take you too. It is a curse that has resulted from the terrible weapon created by the Winchester family. Thousands of persons have died because of it and their spirits are now seeking vengeance."

Sarah was then told that she must sell her property in New Haven and head towards the setting sun. She would be guided by her husband and when she found her new home in the west, she would recognize it. "You must start a new life," said the medium, "and build a home for yourself and for the spirits who have fallen from this terrible weapon too. You can never stop building the house. If you continue building, you will live. Stop and you will die."

The House of The Spirits - ipl2: Information You Can Trust

On September 4, 1922, after a conference session with the spirits in the seance room, Sarah went to her bedroom for the night. At some point in the early morning hours, she died in her sleep at the age of 83. She left all of her possessions to her niece, Frances Marriot, who had been handling most of Sarah’s business affairs for some time. Little did anyone know, but by this time, Sarah’s large bank account had dwindled considerably. Rumor had it that somewhere in the house was hidden a safe containing a fortune in jewelry and a solid-gold dinner service with which Sarah had entertained her ghostly guests. Her relatives forced open a number of safes but found only old fishlines, socks, newspaper clippings about her daughter’s and her husband’s deaths, a lock of baby hair, and a suit of woolen underwear. No solid gold dinner service was ever discovered.