The House of the Spirits

The Inevitable End of Familial Relationships

Francis Scott Fitzgerald, a celebrated U.S. author, once alleged, "Family quarrels are bitter things. They don't go according to any rules. They're not like aches or wounds, they're more like splits in the skin that won't heal" (1927). The Trueba family in Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits reflects this through incessant bickering, which eventually forces most of the family apart. The remaining relationships are severed through death. While the termination of physical familial relations is inevitable, some contact may live on in a plane of spirituality.

The bond between Alba and Esteban Trueba comes to a close because of his demise. Since they had a pleasant relationship in life, Alba "[sits] beside him to wait with him, and death [is] not long in coming, taking him by surprise as he [lies] sleeping peacefully"(430). After this point, Alba no longer thinks of him, but of more important matters, such as the story of her family. She only considers him for the role he plays in the story Clara chronicles in her notebooks. She does, however, attempt to portray him in an objective manner. Unlike Clara, Esteban lacks the ability to communicate with the living after his death. This leaves...

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