Essay about Magic Empowers Women in La Casa de Los Espiritus

2266 Words Mar 4th, 2013 10 Pages
“Magic empowers women in La casa de los espíritus” Discuss.

In Isabel Allende’s first novel, La casa de los espíritus the reader is introduced to her use of magic as a means which enables women to feel “sustained in times of difficulty” and which “provides them with a power base” (Bennett, C. 2003:174).
Interestingly, the women’s connection with the spiritual and magical stands in contrast to the men’s rejection of anything that doesn’t adhere to their strict perception of morbid reality. Therefore, Allende quite clearly outlines “magical properties as essentially feminine” (Shaw, D. 1997:116) and spirituality in all its forms as a “province of the female of the species” (Hart, S. 2005:275) only. It can be argued that women and magic
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Though some critics are of the opinion that Clara is a passive character and her silences aren’t exactly magic, Marjorie Agosín argues that Clara “chose silence not out of passivity or fear but rather because that was the only way for her to create her own space composed of hidden signs and signals” (Agosín, M. 1984:36). It therefore represents a place for her to be alone with the spirits and creates a safe haven away from the destructiveness and aggressiveness of her husband. Even though Agosín’s statement rejects Clara’s passivity, it is possible to disagree on the basis that “she did not have sufficient information, and possessed neither the power nor the tools necessary” (Allende, I. 1984:41) to bring about her liberation-therefore she was forced to refer to what can be read as passive resistance. As a result of this, Esteban is unable to connect with her and soon realizes that “Clara no le pertenecía y que si ella continuaba habitando un mundo de aparecidos […] lo mas probable era que no llegará a pertenecerle nunca” (La casa de los espíritus, 108).
Interestingly Clara’s dwelling in her intrinsic reality and lack of engagement in political matters juxtapose to the orientations of her granddaughter. Alba has a more pro-active and emancipated personality “turned […] toward work, politics and the preoccupations of present-day society” (Allende, 1984:40). When compared to Alba’s

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