The Role Of Family In Salvador Allende's The House Of The Spirits

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The House of the Spirits is about Clara's family: Esteban Trueba, whom she marries, a traditionalist senator, dictator, and male-controlled head of family; Bianca, their daughter; and Alba, their granddaughter. The historical references in Allende's novel are particularly strong; some of her characters describe real Chilean figures. The Candidate/President is, of course, Allende's uncle, Salvador Allende.
The family itself is symbolic of the nation, as Earle shows that the del Valle-Trueba family finds an analogy in Chilean politics: "The political dispersion of the family she [Allende] tells about is microcosmic, for contemporary Chilean history is also one of dispersion, beginning the day after Salvador Allende's election in 1970" (545-46). Thus, while Allende politicizes "the family" as standing for the nation, the novel's autobiographical elements tie the political to the personal: although the dictator in the novel goes unnamed, it is clear Allende refers to Pinochet. The "dispersion of the family" implies Allende's exile, those others who fled Chile, as well as family members who lost their spouses, children, or relatives in the wake of the 1973 coup.
Retrieving "lost" memory and identity in the novel:
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in Moody "Entrevista" 42). The composition of her first novel suggests how important memory is to Allende, especially in exile. In Venezuela, Allende received a call from Chile in 1981 that her 100-year-old grandfather was dying (Hall 27; Trosky 4). She subsequently started composing a letter to him, stating that he would never die as long as she kept alive her memories of him. This sentiment corresponds to her grandfather's own belief that "death did not exist, only forgetfulness did" (qtd. in Pinto

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