English III– Period 7
August 20, 2008
The House of the Spirits
By: Isabelle Allende
Isabelle Allende’s The House of the Spirits is a novel which occurs during the twentieth century somewhere in Latin America. Allende focuses on a number of ideas through her use of motif. One of the most apparent is her relevance of the names of her characters and their actual personalities and positions within the novel. The House of the Spirits is organized and told by the family generations. The author highlights these three generations by a female protagonist from the Del Valle family. Throughout the novel, Allende uses the names of her characters to give insight into who they are, their traits and qualities, as well as the irony between their names and the lives they actually lead.
In the novel’s opening chapter, the audience is introduced to the del Valle family. Nivea and Severo are expecting their last of fifteen children. In the first chapter, Rosa is first portrayed as the oddball of the family. The narrator says, “Even before she was born, Nivea had known she was not of this world, because she had already seen her in her dreams.” (Allende, 4) At birth, Rosa was described as white, smooth, with green hair, and wrinkleless like a porcelain doll. The word ‘rosa’ translates to rose in Spanish, thus implying that Rosa was beautiful. Although Rosa is described as a beauty, she never had many suitors, with the exception of Esteban Trueba, who she later marries. Furthermore, her hair was green, which symbolized the envy that her beauty brought about. The comparison of Rosa and the porcelain doll also implies that she was pure and innocent. Towards the end of the first chapter, the family attends a party. Shortly thereafter, Rosa catches a terrible cold in which the family calls Dr. Cuevas in to examine her. He prescribes rest and lemonade with a shot of liquor to aid the ailment. Nana, the housekeeper, follows the doctor’s orders,...