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The House of the Spirits

The House of the Spirits


by Isabel Allende

The House of the Spirits Freedom and Confinement Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

Barrabás arrived on a Holy Thursday. He was in a despicable cage, caked with his own excrement and urine, and had the lost look of a hapless, utterly defenseless prisoner; but the regal carriage of his head and the size of his frame bespoke the legendary giant he would become. (1.1)

Though Barrabás is in pitiful shape, the fact that he's still in possession of his some irrevocable source of dignity leads us to draw a comparison between his captivity here and Alba's at the end of the novel. Perhaps the author wants to make the point that imprisonment and physical hardship can't necessarily rob a creature of its integrity.

Quote #2

It bothered her to have to stay locked up within these walls that stank of medicine and age, to be kept awake at night by the moans of her sick mother, always attentive to the clock so as to administer each dose at the proper time, bored, tired, and unhappy while her brother had no taste of such obligations. Before him lay a destiny that was bright, free, and full of promise. He could marry, have children, know what love was. (2.8)

Here, the theme of captivity is linked to gender – the only difference between Férula's situation and that of her brother is that she's a woman and he's a man. Férula's captivity may be her own doing (not all women are held back by their gender in the novel – just look at Tránsito Soto), but she's certainly conforming to social roles imposed upon her by society.

Quote #3

These visits to the zoo holding on to the hand of some conceited spendthrift suitor gave her a lifelong horror of enclosures, walls, cages, and isolation. (9.29)

Alba's fear of enclosures and isolation is foreboding. In this novel, if someone has a "lifelong horror" of something, it's likely going to come up later.

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