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Comparative Essay. A study into how Isabelle Allende and Milan Kundera portray love in the Unbearable Lightness of being and The House of the Spirits.

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Introduction

English Comparative Essay Topic: A study into how Isabelle Allende and Milan Kundera portray love in the Unbearable Lightness of being and The House of the Spirits. Love is what many humans strive to find in their relatively short time. Love is a major component in both The House of the Spirits and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Isabel Allende uses the characters Blanca and Clara in the novel The House of the Spirits to portray her views and show the defiance and independence of woman under Esteban Trueba's controlling grip. In the novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, by combining a 'light' and 'weight' characters, Milan Kundera is able to show the benefits of 'light' and 'weight' in regard to love. Both of these authors have a distinctive take on the portrayal love and the way it is represented in their novels. Kundera portrays love through multiple lives based on Parmenides question of "What shall we choose? Weight or Lightness?" [Pg5]. In the Unbearable Lightness of Being the reader is confronted with the philosophical idea or paradox that dictates the books and its characters. The reader is confronted with a question of which asks is it better to live your life as a 'light' character or a 'weight' character. Kundera uses Thomas, Tereza, Sabina and Franz to represent the broad spectrum of which humans approach life and love. ...read more.

Middle

Kundera is also able to distance himself from the book and let the characters themselves portray the different kinds of love, this letting the reader to make an educated assessment of whether 'light' or 'weight' is better. Kundera's portrayal of love as a way in which humans approach life is a look into the ways love can manifest. Instead of just showing life he analyses the merits and the negative aspects of both sides. The portrayal of approaching love as being 'black' and 'white' enables the reader to apply this to his own life, each finding similarities and differences with all the characters in a way the reader is able to empathise with them. Kundera's portrayal of the struggles of love with both 'light' and 'weight' characters is a fascinating read. Unlike Kundera, Isabel Allende approaches the book with no philosophical idea about love; instead she presents love through a story of a three generation family going through the struggles of life. She embodies many different types of relationships into the story from all the way to hatred with Esteban Garcia and Esteban Trueba to the everlasting love of Blanca and Pedro Tercero. We find in this book a real melting pot of the Latin American culture, with hatred, political unrest and rebellion. In the House of the Spirits a important relationship is Clara and Esteban. ...read more.

Conclusion

As a women's rights activist, she is strongly against the oppression of woman. A key example of this is through the relationship of Clara and Esteban. Esteban tries to control Clara. Over time he becomes more controlling resulting to violence and beating when she doesn't obey. Esteban wanted control over Clara so she would be dependent on him. He was scared that if she gained independence she could live without him and this frightened him. cause he knew when she was independent she could live without him and this scared him. He wanted her to depend on him, thus giving him the power to control her, "Esteban began to feel uncomfortable in his own house. His wife had grown increasingly remote, strange and inaccessible. There was no way for him to reach her. He wanted her to be completely dependent"[Pg 127]. Clara's defiance as a woman is strong symbolism of women breaking away from the grips of female oppression. Clara in the House of the spirits and Tereza in The Unbearable Lightness of being, are totally different with Tereza dependent on Thomas and his reassurance and with Clara, the introvert of whom by her independence makes Esteban loathe for her. We see some sort of irony in that the staunch male Esteban, the rapist, the control freak needed and emotionally depended on Clara. Isabelle Allende by showing such a array of relationships and love is able to communicate the struggles and the joy of love within all these characters. ...read more.

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