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In Tolstoys Anna Karenina and Allendes The House of the Spirits, Anna and Clara attempt to overcome their limitations and gain respect from the men in their own societies through their intellect and determination

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Matt Monteilh 07/20/09 World Lit Paper Comparing Anna and Clara To many women, it is essential that they be looked upon with the same respect as a man; to women, equality is a very important attribute to have when living in a male dominated society. In the book Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, written between 1873 and 1877, Anna, the main character, feels that she is not able to have as much freedom in Russia as her husband and, as a result, tries to overcome her burden with her actions. Anna finds happiness with a man and ends up losing it as a result of society's limits on women. Clara del Valle in The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende is in the same predicament. Written in 1981, The House of the Spirits describes the life of a young woman living in a South American country who loses her mother, father and sister through tragedy. She then tries to find happiness with her own family but is limited by her husband's actions and demands. In Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Allende's The House of the Spirits, Anna and Clara attempt to overcome their limitations and gain respect from the men in their own societies through their intellect and determination, their expressions of strength, and their attempts at happiness through marriage. ...read more.


Anna shows her boldness when "she [decides] then and there that the next day, [on her son] Seryozha's birthday... she would go directly to her husband's house [to] bribe the servants [and] deceive them" in order to see her son (Tolstoy 532). Clara is the complete opposite of Anna because she is very silent. The first time she is silent is when she sees her sister's autopsy "...feeling within her the silence of the entire world. Silence filled her utterly. She did not speak again until nine years later" (Allende 39). She also stops speaking to her husband Esteban. Clara was so opposed to him that, "she stopped using her married name and removed the fine gold wedding ring that he had placed on her finger twenty years before" after they get into a fight (Allende 201). Not only did Clara stop talking, she stopped associating herself with her husband. Clara's silence is her way of gaining power over Esteban causing him to wonder what she was thinking and what her opinions were during her time of silence. Even though Anna and Clara are different, both are examples of strength. They almost achieve their goals of trying to be just as equal as men, and their husbands both begin to understand that. ...read more.


He lost control and struck her in the face, knocking her against the wall. Clara fell to the floor without a sound." (Allende 200) Clara also gets to the point where she doesn't allow Esteban in her bedroom, by having "a bolt installed on her bedroom door and... never letting Esteban in her bed again." (Allende 179) Clara ends up dying a natural death, but she dies an unhappy woman. Both Anna and Clara depend on others for happiness rather than themselves, and both have fights within their marriages. Anna and Clara also die in their respective stories: Anna kills herself while Clara dies a natural death, but both die in a miserable state of mind. Anna and Clara lived in times that were dominated by men. They tried to overcome their situations but were forced to live mediocre lives. Their portrayal of strength and perseverance is a good example of how they stayed strong in many tough situations. Anna was able to use her intelligence, emotions and open heart to show her strength. Clara used her powers, silence, and abilities to stand firm on her beliefs and to depict her strength. Together both women show the world that individuals can produce very similar results when placed in the same predicament even if separated by hundreds of years and thousands of miles. Word Count- 1606 1 ...read more.

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