Crimes against women is one huge thing that provides the plot in The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende – feminism and how these women pulled themselves out of hard situations and Esteban’s involvedness in this, is what provokes the narrator to tell the story in the first place. Feminism is defined as the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the genders. Feminists advocate for the advancement of women’s rights; especially in patriarchal societies. Surprisingly, even under as hard of a regime as Esteban held over them, three main female characters are able to show their feminist positions throughout the book. Nivea shows her strength, feminist passion, and braveness early in the book, and continues to tell her opinion until her death. She is an avid advocate for women’s rights, and even after death she leaves a lasting effect on the city.
Many women come to her funeral to “pay their last respects to the remains of Nivea, who was considered the first feminist in the country.”(pg 121) Clara, just like her mother, is a strong feminist character in the book. She is constantly trying to help the women in Tres Marias. Just as her mother, she refuses to be controlled by her husband esteban, and shows no fear when countering his views, “as soon as Clara was able to move, she pushed Esteban out of the way, rose with great difficulty, and left the study, trying to walk as erect as she could.
.. Clara never spoke to her husband again.
She stops using her married name and removes the fine gold band he had placed on her finger twenty year before.”(Pg. 201) Blanca shows her feminism a little differently than Clara and Nivea. Her strength and bravery comes from rebelling against her father’s old fashioned patriarchal ideology, she strongly opposes her forced marriage, “I’m not getting married papa,’ she said, ‘Be quiet!’ he roared. ‘I don’t want any bastards in the family, do you hear me?’ ‘I thought we already had several.’ Blanca replied.
” (Pg. 238) She stands strong through the supposed death of her true love and continues to oppose her cruel father.Feminism isn’t just portrayed through activism. It is also portrayed through the way the women hold themselves and pull through challenging times. Ferula would not be considered as a feminist based on her character and her actions but one must acknowledge the strength that she possessed. Even though she appears meek at times and had a crazy, she could pull through a lot of things on her own when Esteban basically abandoned her.
These women don’t need a man to take charge and control of things for them because they are highly intelligent and able to do things on their own and be successful at what they do. Transito for instance, despite coming from a very hard life managed to become a very successful woman in her own right. These women who were to some extent treated as beneath the men turn out to be extraordinary women and far better than the men and they redefine what a woman is in their society.This is where the sexism comes in. Considering women activists and feminists involved them appearing and fighting for rights, of course sexism has having a huge influence on the way society operates. Characters like Esteban represente that. He is perhaps the most influential male character in the novel, he has a lot of power, wealth and he is well respected for the most part.
He is also the perfect balance for the femininity presented in the novel. His role, no matter how unagreeable, is very vital. He notoriously abused his power and wealth.
He is famous for abusing and raping the females in Tres Marias.Esteban viewed women as a source of his pleasure and thus subjected and treated them per that belief. His acts of violence against women and his family come from his deep sense of loneliness and from how miserable he is. The presence of Alba later in the novel brought a calm to his life but prior to all that, he imposed a lot of gender roles in the lives of the women around in. The most notable one being the instance where he leaves Ferula no choice but to look after their sick and dying mother. His view of women is underlined when he states that he was basically glad he wasn’t born a woman. He acknowledges that women are in a sort of captivity based on the roles that are pushed on them by society.
Ferulla’s freedom was limited because she was a woman and had to stay home and take care of her mother. Crimes against women is one huge thing that provides the plot in The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende – feminism and how these women pulled themselves out of hard situations and Esteban’s involvedness in this, is what provokes the narrator to tell the story in the first place. Feminism is defined as the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the genders. Feminists advocate for the advancement of women’s rights; especially in patriarchal societies.