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The strength of women in One Hundred Years of Solitude and The House of the Spirits

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Introduction

The strength of women in One Hundred Years of Solitude and The House of the Spirits Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende both give women strong leadership roles in their novels, as in One Hundred Years of Solitude and The House of the Spirits women play a significant role in family affairs. Men often start off strong, but often lose sight of what's important or no longer use their skills to be the successful leader they are able to be. When this happens, it is the women who step in to keep the family strong and the day to day activities going. Without these women, the families in both One Hundred Years of Solitude and The House of the Spirits would perhaps fall to pieces. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, the matriarch of the Buendia family is Ursula Iguaran. Right from chapter one, readers are able to see her sense of level headedness. When Jose Arcadio Buendia first got caught up in the idea of science and alchemy, as shown to him by Melquiades, and wanted to trade their farm animals for magnetized ingots, her sense of reality tired to convince him not to do so. It says, "[Jose Arcadio Buendia] traded his mule and a pair of goats for the two magnetized ingots. ...read more.

Middle

Her disability, in some respects, is what allowed her to harness that mental strength and put it to good use, for when Fernanda's wedding ring was lost, Ursula was the only one who was able to find. This is due to the fact that "while the others were going carelessly all about, she watched them with her four senses ... and after some time she discovered that every member of the family ... repeated the same path every day" (Marquez 247). So, when Fernanda's ring was missing: "Ursula remembered that the only thing different that she had done that day was to put the mattresses out in the sun... Since the children had been present ... Ursula figured that Fernanda had put the ring in the only place where [the children] could not reach it: the shelf. (Marquez 247) Thus, Ursula's blindness can be thanked for her strong mental state of mind, even as she was growing older, for her extensive mental training would not have had to take place if she wasn't indeed blind. Nivea del Valle also serves as a role of an overseer. After her death, Nivea's head is nowhere to be found, and therefore, her body is buried without it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Alba's sense of family loyalty overshadowed all of that potential fear, however, not only did she go through with the pregnancy, she did so with a positive attitude, and the outlook that a prolonged cycle of violence would finally end with her baby. Though her situation is not exactly the same, because she has Miguel to go on by her side, it is quite possible that even if Alba did not have Miguel by her side, she still would have went through with the pregnancy, because the quote above makes it clear that her loyalty is to her baby, no matter what the situation. Both One Hundred Years of Solitude and The House of the Spirits contain women that exhibit a tremendous amount of personal strength. These women use their strength, physical, mental, and emotional, mostly to do their best to support their families. When the men in these novels are unable to live up to their expectations, the women are always right there, ready to take the lead. This was an almost unheard of concept during the time of the novels, but Marquez and Allende use this then thought to be radical concept, to show that women are much more than bearers of children. Both of these novels show just how much strength it takes for women to be fully able to run their households and their families. ...read more.

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