World Literature Assignment 1
“The question of whether ‘humanity’ still exists or has faded as a result of mankind’s narcissism” as explored in the novels ‘The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende’ and ‘Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel’.
The word ‘humanity’ is unique in its capacity to be understood and defined by each person in his or her own way. A general definition is
“the quality of being humane; the kind feelings, dispositions, and sympathies of man; especially, a disposition to relieve persons or animals in distress, and to treat all creature with kindness and tenderness.”
The authors Laura Esquivel and Isabel Allende have weaved into their works captivating examples of human behaviour in the face of challenging circumstances. The books center on the tumultuous journey of strong and passionate men and women, in their fight for love, happiness, dreams and ideals. The protagonists, mainly women, create prominent ripples in the sagas, they bring with them a sense mystery and intrigue.
In the engaging novel ‘The House of the Spirits’ by Isabelle Allende, instances of human compassion are plenty. Beginning with the youngest of the Del Valle family Clara the clairvoyant, who on the surface appeared to be an innocent and demure girl, but inside was a determined, supernatural soul. The strongest evidence of the immeasurable positive change she brought into people’s lives was seen at her funeral, it brought people from the far reaches of where her love and care had reached. Clara’s husband wrote
“poor people, students, labor unionists, nuns, mongoloid children, bohemians, and spiritualists – came to pay their respects.”
During her lifetime she acted not only as the thread keeping her family as one entity but also aided people all around her, in whatever little way she could. Though her true being belonged to the spiritual world, she placed aside time for the people who were truly deprived.
Determination and strong-will were attributes that were associated with both Clara and her mother Nivea, these distinct features that they displayed carved a niche in this world. Nivea was a driven feminist unrelenting in her battle for securing “the vote for women” in elections. For more than ten long years she fought to the uplift of women in the suffragette movement. She was a force to be reckoned with, permitting not even her numerous pregnancies to come in the way of her ultimate goal. She takes an unprecedented decision of keeping Rosa away from the vulgar traffic of the world. Clara, the precocious and clairvoyant, was her favorite daughter. Clara too was filled with the milk of human kindness. She put her heart and soul into teaching the peasant women at Tres Marias. Transito soto was delineated by Allende as a character unparallel in history. She made a cooperative for the most trodden section of the society-the prostitutes. And it was only she who made escape of Alba feasible putting her life her money at stake.