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Time in House of spirits and chronicle of a death foretold

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Introduction

The fragmentation of time is a major characteristic portrayed in Latin American literature. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez and The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende highlight the significant impact that time has on narrative. Time plays a role in the development of both novels through firstly structuring the books. This structure is by no means linear, but a recurring notion of themes. The numerous instances of foreshadowing and flashback have a great impact on both novels' development. The thought of the past and future as closely entwined also lays the basis for fate, as repetition leads the reader to believe that the future is set and uncontrollable. Time also gives the reader an insight into the recollection of the past and how witnesses can be unreliable. These two novels portray different methods of remembering the past. In Chronicle, M�rquez interviews people who were there at the time whilst in House of the Spirits Allende uses diaries as documented testimonies. The cyclical structure of both novels means that they flip between the past and future. ...read more.

Middle

This method of telling a story as a re-creation is not so unusual, except that it is interrupted at times by yet another narrative voice. This third voice belongs to Esteban Trueba, whose first person ("I") accounts serve to express either his intense passion or his acute suffering. (It is also interesting that all but the first of Esteban's encounters with Tr�nsito Soto are told in his voice.) Esteban's first-person accounts serve two purposes: first, they reinforce the idea that the novel has been reconstructed from the family histories, both written and oral. More important, however, is the way in which Esteban's words reveal the emotions he does not express in front of others. Without Esteban's narration, it would be easy to dismiss him as a cruel, heartless tyrant; including his heartfelt declarations, however, shows him to be a complex character struggling to battle his inner demons of passion and anger. The constant shifting from the past to the future underlines the cyclical nature and the development of fate in both novels. ...read more.

Conclusion

As she closes The House of the Spirits, Alba seems to speak in Allende's own voice as she proclaims: "Memory is fragile and the space of a single life so brief, passing so quickly that we never get a chance to see the relationship between events; we cannot gauge the consequences of out acts, and we believe in the fiction of past, present, and future, but it may also be true that everything happens simultaneously." Time is used as a gate way through which many aspects of these novels can be reached. Different view points can be attained as can the change of opinion through time. Fate is woven through time which binds the past and future even closer together. Recounts are a commonly used method of rediscovering the past. Through Chronicle we learn of the impossible task of reconstructing the truth, as many believe that the whole truth can never be known especially after so many years. In house of spirits Clara's writings are used as a way of piecing together their "true" family history. Time plays a key role constructing and revealing a whole dimension of these novels. ...read more.

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