Big Project

Adonis Martin

Mr. Duffey


26 November 2016

What Hood Are You From:” Setting in”-Isabel Allende’s THOTS


If we analyze the setting, the difference in social class, and create our own autobiographical parody we could receive a better understanding of The House of The Spirits. Settings tell the audience a lot about a book. It can give one explanations for why certain decision were made, it can influence how people live, and it has an impact on the culture of people. In this case the setting is in Latin America during a time of revolution. Just understanding the setting alone can help the reader grasp a better understanding of the book. In addition, a major theme in the book THOTS is the differences in social class. In THOTS, everyone is either part of the aristocrats or the peasants. This class distinction often results in conflict, and in the book, there’s a huge one. The last part of this paper is an autobiographical narrative told by me and incorporating some aspects of the book.

Research Piece:

In the book, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende the setting is important to better understanding the work as a whole. If we know the time period, the location, and the cultural environment we can receive a better understanding of the book. The House of the Spirits takes place in Chile in the 20th century and spans over a fifty-year time period. Knowing the time period gives us insight into what was happening in Latin America while the book was taking place. In 1939 there was a huge earthquake in Chile killing thousands of people. In Chapter 5 of Allende’s House of the Spirits there was an earthquake of this description. Clara used her magic abilities to foresee this earthquake, but nobody listened to her. Similarly, during this time period there were social uprisings and protests, and these are also consistent with the uprisings and protests in the novel. This further proves that the setting of the book is consistent with the setting of Chile. Drawing from these connections as an audience we have enough evidence to place the setting in Chile. Analyzing the life and the history of the people in Chile during this time period can help us better understand and relate to the characters in the novel because the people of Chile and the characters in the book will have the same life style, politics, and other things of the sort. In other words, the historical context of this book is important to the action and direction the story goes. Chile had a well-established social order. The wealthy aristocratic type usually lived in huge haciendas and these lasted generations. The lower class (peasants) grew to be a very loyal and submissive class to their patrons. They were virtually the equivalent of slaves. Latin America during this time period had many social upheavals and civil wars. In The House of the Spirits, the lower class is treated very harshly by their patrons and this is consistent with not only Chile’s culture but also Latin American culture in general. Esteban Trueba was a patron who often beat and raped woman and children, but they were still loyal because they needed him to survive. This is because before he got there they were in really bad shape. Knowing this we can understand the viewpoint of the lower-class characters in the book. We now know that they want change and to overthrow the socialist government. In addition, the geography, cultural environment, and climate also help us better understand the way of life of the people in the book. The geography determines how people get food. Chile is a very isolated from the rest of South America. Deserts, Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean make it relatively isolated. Chile is one of the longest countries in the world which accounts for its very diverse climate. The geography of the peasants plays a key part in the novel. The place where Esteban Trueba is patron is described as a wasteland, so I would say this is more desert type area. This is partly why Esteban is needed for the peasants to survive. In The House of the Spirits, the climate can control what people wear and eat, and the cultural geography can determine how people live. Most of the novel takes place in the big mansion on the corner. This is where the Trueba family lives. In this house, Clara raises her children and continues to thrive with magic. Since we are set 20th century Latin America Clara, her children, and her grandchildren are abused. Esteban Trueba is a very abusive husband. In these times magic was a way to cope with the reality of society. The term for this is magical realism. Clara practiced magic with three sisters throughout the novel. Whenever Clara decided to, she could isolate herself and focus on magic. I believe magic was Clara’s way of coping with the problems that had occurred throughout her life. Apart from the big house on the corner, some of the book took place in a school. Esteban’s granddaughter Alba and her boyfriend Miguel spent some of the novel protesting the new government change. As I previously stated Latin America was in a period of social uprisings and civil wars. Alba was caught and tortured which often happens to prisoners in war. So as shown the setting not only gives the reader insight on where and when the novel takes place, but also helps us better understand the characters, motives, decisions, and way of life.

Thematic Analysis:

A very apparent theme throughout this novel is the separation between the upper class and the lower class. Allende uses social class to influence the character’s actions throughout the novel. In the novel Esteban and his sister are able to classify themselves as upper class because of their famous family ties, the money Esteban made, and the land/businesses Esteban owns. Esteban’s mother’s family name was tied to wealthy and upper class people. Even though Esteban wasn’t very wealthy growing up he had ties to a good family name, which had potential. This is how things were in Latin American culture. It was all about your family ties. Upper class individuals in the novel often find themselves as political leaders. Clara and her family are also considered upper class, as opposed to the Garcia’s who represent the peasants of the land. The lower class were either farmers or peasants and they would build wealth for the upper class. There is a very thick line separating the upper and lower class. One distinction is the way women are treated. In chapter four the women of lower class laugh at the things Clara is saying. They explained that if they did and said what Clara had said their husbands would beat them. On the other side of things Nivea could go out and protest and never get a hand laid on her. Nivea was upper class and wealthy and had a husband who respected her. This might be because wealthy people have all they need to survive and have virtually no worries. People would have more freedom to do the things they like in wealthy families. Another big thing that separates class systems is education. In the book, Esteban tries to educate the people of lower class, but most of them remained clueless. The book even states that some of them just couldn’t grasp the idea that the whole world could be placed on a little map. In chapter 4 Ferula states “For god sake! It’s impossible to live among such uncouth people”! This is after Ferula had a nerve attack after seeing a rat and she insisted they move back to the city. This only proves the upper and lower classes live very different lives in very different living conditions. Something I found interesting is that the upper class (aristocrats) rule over the lower class (the peasants). Esteban Trueba was a Patron for some lower class peasants. People such as Esteban boss everyone around and will punish them if they do anything wrong. It’s very similar to slavery. Esteban treats the people of lower class extremely harsh. Often differences in class or social status lead to many conflicts. With different class standings come different political viewpoints and lifestyles. In regards to The House of the Spirits the lower-class rebels and revolts against the socialist government. To do this the lower class had to find a way to unite with one another. The way they did this was by song. In the novel Pedro Garcia used the story of the fox and the hens, told to him by his elders, to make a song for the uprising. Similarly, during this time period there were social uprisings and protests, and these are also consistent with the uprisings and protests in the novel. There was virtually no middle class described in the novel. There was either the wealthy aristocratic type, or the peasant farmer type, there was no evidence of an in between. Class and social status might have been the most important theme throughout the novel because it dictated how a person’s life would go. It virtually determined what job a person would end up doing, it determined where people would live, and it overall determined how their life would be. One aspect of social class was the life opportunities a person receives. Upper class will have many more opportunities than lower class citizens. In the novel Esteban Trueba and is family had many more opportunities throughout their life than Pedro Garcia did. Class differences also affect personality in different ways. Peasants or people in poverty are more likely to think stealing or crime is ok because that might be what they need to do to survive. Wealthy people tend not to stoop so low because they usually don’t have too. Therefore, we can conclude that there is a great diversity in behavior with regards to social status. To conclude, social status played a huge role throughout the novel and was often the source of conflict. Class in my opinion is the most important theme to analyze in this book because it can give you a sharp understanding of the characters and where they come from in the book.

Creative, semi-fictional, autobiographical parody:

Christmas break was finally here. The date was December 20th 2015 and it was a cold winter afternoon. Me, my mother, and three sisters went out to get our yearly ornaments from the Christmas store. Two of my sisters bought angel ornaments, and my other sister got a baby Jesus ornament. My mother glared at me angrily as I got a blue bud lite can ornament for the tree.

I laughed and with a grin on my face said “It symbolizes how times have change and shows that I’m now in college”. She sighed hard and proceeded to checkout.

We got home and prepared some delicious hot chocolate. My mom texted me urging me not to forget to get my three little sisters Christmas presents. On top of that I had to remember to get my two little brothers presents as well. My two little brothers didn’t live with me, both had different moms than me. We start decorating the tree and my little sisters gave mixed reactions. The two-year-old and the seven-year-old were very eager to put ornaments on the tree. However, my fifteen-year-old sister wanted to hurry and get it over with. Ultimately, we all had a good time decorating the Christmas tree.

While I was in college my mom gave my room to my oldest little sisters. So, I was forced to sleep on the couch. I was a little too big for the couch and my back pained me a lot. Even worse my dad came home at around 1 a.m. and started snoring so loud that I could hear it through my headphones. It was like this all the way till the month of January. My mother and father were very curious on what my Jan term would be. I kindly explained to them that I was going to Chile in South America to stay with my pen pal Alba Garcia for a whole month. My parents were very worried, but knew that I was a man now and they knew that I could take care of myself. My dad worked for American Airlines at the time so I flew with American Airlines. It was a very long flight and I was a little nervous. I had never been out of the country before. All these thoughts went through my head. Lucky Alba and her family could speak English. When I got off the airplane, I was greeted by Alba and her mother Blanca. However, I didn’t call her mom Blanca I called her Mrs. Trueba. Mrs. Trueba informed me that we had quite a drive before we arrived at their house.

It was kind of awkward most of the drive, but then I started to feel welcome. Alba started telling me about her life and school. She told me she really liked this guy named Miguel. I told her College in America was great, and I told her I was having an amazing time. She didn’t seem to care to much about American culture, so I didn’t say too much.

Hours went by and we ended up making it to their house. Their house was huge compared to all the other homes around. I was astonished. The house was on the corner of the street. I looked in excitement and yelled “Alba I didn’t know you were rich”! Alba said her grandfather was currently out of town. When I walked in the house Alba and Mrs. Trueba showed me around. They showed me to my room and it was a great size. I met an older woman and I was told to call her grandma Clara. It seemed extremely weird calling her grandma Clara, but Alba said it was fine. In the morning, I woke up and ate some food that I can’t quite describe. All I knew is that it was delicious. Alba said that I was allowed to go to school with her, but I declined partly because I only spoke English and partly because I wanted her to get a chance to hook up with Miguel (the boy she likes). I was left in the house with her mother and grandmother until Alba got home later at five. I spent the first couple of hours talking to my friends and parents and posting pictures on social media. Alba’s grandmother Clara started to tell me stories of when she was a kid. They were all very interesting. There was a wide variety of stories that she told, but perhaps the most interesting had to do with her older sister Rosa. Clara said she was called “Rosa the beautiful”. From what Clara told me I wanted to meet Rosa, but Clara said she passed a long time ago. Mrs. Trueba was astonished to hear grandma Clara talking to me. At first I was very confused, but eventually Mrs. Trueba told me that her mom had a spell and hasn’t spoken to anyone for the last five months.

Some days passed and me and Alba were getting to know each other very well. She told me how she started dating Miguel and I was very happy for her. Towards the end of the month she told me I should leave soon because her grandfather would be coming home soon. However, her grandfather came home earlier than expected. This is as far as I will tell because the sequences of events that happened after this I don’t ever want to repeat. Let’s just say some of the things her grandfather did would have him in prison for life back in the U.S. I started to understand why grandma Clara didn’t speak and why Alba wanted me to get ready to leave. However, Alba’s grandfather paid me no mind. I was still treated well as a guest in his house. I thanked the family for having me, and I returned home. When I returned home, many people asked me how the trip was and countless answers ran through my head, but I just replied with a simple “it was good”. Currently, it is 2016 and I will not be traveling for this Jan Term because the airports have become very packed due to the recent presidential election.

Works cited:

Bruno-Jofré, Rosa. “The Catholic Church in Chile and The Social Question in the 1930s: The Political Pedagogical Discourse of Fernando Vives Del Solar, S.J.” The Catholic Historical  Review 99.4 (2013): 703-26. Web.

Ko, Nusta Carranza. “Cementing Class Differences: Globalization in Peru.” Perspectives on Global Development and Technology 12.3 (2013): 411-26. Web.

Andersen, Robert, and Josh Curtis. “Social Class, Economic Inequality, and the Convergence of          Policy Preferences: Evidence from 24 Modern Democracies.” Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue Canadienne De Sociologie 52.3 (2015): 266-88. Web.

Corvalan, Alejandro, and Paulo Cox. “Class-Biased Electoral Participation: The Youth Vote in Chile.” Latin American Politics and Society 55.3 (2013): 47-68. Web.

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Metaphors and Symbols


                100 years of solitude contains many interesting themes. A couple of themes are the confusion of time (past, present, future), the bible, and the railroad.  Each of these themes include a deeper meaning. The confusion of time has more meaning than it appears to have. The novel repeats names and personalities over and over again. In doing this time appears to never change because when someone dies another person with the same name and personality appears. This is hinted at early in the novel when the first Jose Arcardio believes time isn’t changing before he gets tied to a tree. Time eventually repeats itself. After the endless rain life is reduced to what it was at the beginning of the novel. It was like starting all over. So the overall meaning behind the confusion of time is that it appears to have never changed throughout the entire novel. The bible is another big theme in this novel. The book starts with the creation of Macondo just as god created the world in the book of Genesis. Jose and Ursula represent Adam and Eve. The rain at the end of the book represents the flood god made to restart humanity. The events that happen with the Buendias family (who represent humanity) in the novel directly correlate with the bible. Macondo is mostly isolated from the outside world. The Gypsies somewhat connect Macondo to modern things from the outside world, but the railroad represents the true arrival of the outside world in Macondo. When the railroad runs through Macondo it thrives and grows, but after the tracks break Macondo sinks back into its usual isolation.

               There are many metaphors used in the poems Walking around and Barcarole. Metaphors basically contain hidden meaning. The poem Walking around is basically about Man vs. society. The speaker states he is tired of being a man and reflects on society. The verse “And it pushes me into certain corners, into some moist houses, into hospitals where the bones fly out the window, into shoeshops that smell like vinegar, and certain streets hideous as cracks in the skin” means the speaker feels pressure walking through the streets and show the speaker is questioning societies creation. “That’s why Monday, when it sees me coming with my convict face, blazes up like gasoline, and it howls on its way like a wounded wheel, and leaves tracks full of warm blood leading toward the night” this stanza is describing Monday as going to war with the speaker through the use of metaphors. The real meaning is the narrator is disgruntled with the material world. The metaphors also have some hidden meaning in the poem Barcarole. “If only you would touch my heart, if only you were to put your mouth to my heart, your delicate mouth, your teeth, if you were to put your tongue like a red arrow there where my dusty heart is beating” In these metaphors the speaker wants every part of the readers mouth on his heart. The significance or meaning of the mouth is all about noise. “Like a long absence, like a sudden bell, the sea doles out the sound of the heart, raining, darkening at sundown, on a lonely coast: no question that night falls and its mournful blue of the flags of shipwrecks peoples itself with planets of throaty silver” The metaphors in this stanza are meant to convey loud noise which means the intensity is picking up.

               In the film the Postman, metaphors are defined as words that enable understanding of one thing by calling it another. Metaphors are huge in the film the Postman. They allow characters like Mario to express what they’re feeling at the time. “And it is Mario, too, who proves that poetry can work to seduce women” (Ebert 47). Mario seduces Beatrice with poetry in the novel. Metaphors make up most of Pablo Neruda’s work. Poetry in this setting was admired by many. The way metaphors were formed could be as simple as wanting to describe the sea. “Mario’s simplistic questions about poetry wind up forcing Neruda to reveal some of the raw materials of his artistic vision” (Stack 40). This is how Mario gets introduced to the word metaphors. It also leads him to express his feelings and eventually get married. Therefore, metaphors had a huge impact on Mario’s life in the film. This film shows not only what metaphors did for Mario, but also what metaphors helped him express. Mario doesn’t say much because he lives in a small town, but metaphors allow him to express himself in ways he never imagined.


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Do women=madness?

Women have been viewed in many negative ways. In society sexism plays a huge role in the portrayal of females. From reading THOTS, the Guardian article, and watching “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” it seems as if madness and women have a connection by the way they are portrayed in these works. The way women are displayed particularly in novels and movies directly lead to the skewed viewpoints of everyone in the real world. This can help us realize there are “social consequences of the words we choose” (Nunn 6).

In THOTS the women constantly have serious problems that they have to deal with throughout their lives. Some of the ways they cope with the problems in their lives causes the men in the novel to consider them as weird or crazy. A specific example would be Clara being less social and focusing on her magic. From Esteban’s POV the things she does are stupid and crazy. The men might think this way because they don’t go through the same things that the women of the novel go through. In addition, the movie we watched displayed the female characters madness as not only a way to cope with the problems caused by men, but also as a sort of escape route. Ivan was the source of the women troubles in the movie. Lucia pretended she was crazy in “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”, this might have been a way for her to cope with Ivan not loving her anymore. At the end of the movie, she also pretends she’s crazy as a route to escape punishment for trying to kill Ivan. Furthermore, The Guardian article shows that women sexism is at work in the real world. Gary Nunn states some of the ways women are treated unfairly. An example would be how he stated that women aren’t as trusted to be in higher positions in work, and also receive lower pay. By definition that’s sexism which could have been reinforced by the works of novels and movies that portray women as inferior.


Works Cited:

Nunn, Gary. “The Feminisation of Madness Is Crazy | Mind Your Language. ” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.



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Similarities(Volver v HOS) Revised

There are many similarities as well as differences between House of the Spirits and Volver. Both indicate some form of the way people lived and did things in Latin America during a specific time period. The movie as well as the book fully display the character of men, women, and society in general. Striking similarities arise with respect to men, women, and magical realism.

When comparing the men they act just about the same in Volver as the do in The House of the Spirits. “Men, for Raimunda and her circle, tend to be malevolent, irrelevant or simply absent” (Scott 39). Judging by Volver and The House of the Spirits the men seem to be very violent, demanding, and unloved. For example, in HOS Esteban frequently throws tantrums and beats the women in his family when he is mad, and in Volver Paco tries to rape Paula. When Paco dies nobody really cares or mourns, and the same will most likely happen to Esteban. This fact just further proves the men in these societies are virtually unloved.

Just as the men are very similar, the women have many similarities as well. The women in Volver and HOS are very independent. When Paco dies the women don’t panic at all. “Paco ends up on the kitchen floor, his arms and legs splayed in an uncanny reminder of the body on the poster of Preminger’s “Anatomy of a Murder.” (Ebert 17). Clara and the women associated with her family are also very independent. If Esteban died they’d be fine mostly because a lot of the women’s troubles in the novel are because of men.

Magical realism is evident in both the movie and the book. Clara and the Three Mora sisters are a good example of the magical realism in the novel. Most of their time is taken up by reading the future, watching a three legged table, and hovering around in chairs. In Volver the mother comes back from the dead as everyone believes. Raimunda uses her mom coming back from the dead to escape her troubles and the harsh reality of her life just as Clara finds refuge in her magical interests.

Works Cited

Scott, A. O. “The Darkest of Troubles in the Brightest of Colors.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Nov. 2006. Web. 09 Sept. 2016.

Ebert, Roger. “Volver Movie Review & Film Summary (2006) | Roger Ebert.” All Content. N.p., 2006. Web






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Class System


hood upper class

A very apparent theme throughout this novel is the separation between the upper class and the lower class. In the novel Esteban is able to classify himself as upper class because of his famous family ties, the money he made, and the land/businesses he owns. Clara and her family are also considered upper class as opposed to the Garcias who represent the peasants of the land.

There is a very thick line separating the upper and lower class. One distinction is the way women are treated. In chapter four the women of lower class laugh at the things Clara is saying. They explained that if they did what Clara had said their husbands would beat them. On the other side of things Nivea could go out and protest and never get a hand laid on her.

Another big thing that separates class systems is education. In the book Esteban tries to educate the people of lower class, but most of them remained clueless. The book even states that some of them just couldn’t grasp the idea that the whole world could be placed on a little map. In chapter 4 Ferula states “For god sake! It’s impossible to live among such uncouth people”! This is after Ferula had a nerve attack after seeing a rat and she insisted they move back to the city. This only proves the upper and lower classes live very different lives in very different living conditions.

Something I found interesting is that the upper class (aristocrats) rule over the lower class (the peasants). People such as Esteban boss everyone around and also will punish them if they do any thing wrong. It’s very similar to slavery. Esteban treats the people of lower class extremely harsh. Based on the story of the fox and the hens I predict change is right around the corner.



Pans Labyrinth Assignment

In the movie Pans Labyrinth Guillermo del Toro displays an interesting interaction between fantasy and the real world. Guillermo del Toro insightfully leaves his audience wondering if the fantasy world is real or not. I believe the protagonist, Ofelia, uses a fantasy world or perspective to cope with the harsh things happening in her life. She knows she’s in a dangerous place and she fears for herself and the people around her. She is still a young girl with a bright imagination. She chose to live and believe in the fantasy world because she is still an innocent little girl. Ofelia hasn’t been through the things her mother or Mercedes have been through therefore she is able to live in her fantasy world and use her imagination. It’s fascinating to see how Guillermo uses Ofelia’s fantasy world to conflict and cause problems for Ofelia in the real world.