The House of the Spirits
How we cite our quotes:
Neither the zeal of the police nor Severo's own investigation, which was carried out with the help of a private detective he engaged, shed any light on the identity of the assassin, and the shadow of suspended vengeance has continued to hang over succeeding generations. It was the first of many acts of violence that marked the fate of the del Valle family. (1.61)
The author establishes here the idea that violence can provoke a chain reaction of vengeance that passes from generation to generation.
He realized too late, from the blood spattered on her dress, that the young girl was a virgin, but neither Pancha's humble origin nor the pressing demands of his desire allowed him to reconsider. […] Before her, her mother – and before her, her grandmother – had suffered the same animal fate. (2.63)
This small glimpse into Pancha's family history starts to hint at the revelation that Alba will have at the end of the novel – the rape that Pancha experiences at the hands of the patrón is part of a chain of violence that spans generations, and is not easily broken.
When there were no more available women in Tres Marías, he began to chase after those from the neighboring haciendas, taking them in the wink of an eye, anywhere he could find a place in the fields, usually at dusk. He did not bother to hide, because he was afraid of no one. On a few occasions, a brother, father, husband, or employer showed up at Tres Marías to call him to account, but faced with his uncontrolled violence, these visits in the name of justice or revenge became less frequent. (2.74)
Esteban's impunity in committing acts of violence – both in raping the young women in the countryside and in standing up to the men who try to stop him – has a lot to do with his class. As a member of the wealthy elite, he can get away with anything.