Estebans Final Speech House Of The Spirits English Literature Essay

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In the final chapter of Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits there is a vital exchange between Esteban Trueba, the central male character of the novel, and Transito Soto. The conversation takes place in Transito's office at the Christopher Columbus, her brothel house and is a defining moment in the novel for both characterisation and plot. The exchange is a narration from Esteban's perspective, but towards the end, this narrative tone is lost and instead Esteban expresses himself in a more emotional way. Thus making this passage one of the most emotionally charged points in the novel. It reveals much about Esteban's character, by giving the reader a firsthand account of Esteban's true feelings. His ultimate realization that he does desire the love of his family leads to a pivotal change in his character It is crucial in Allende's construction of Esteban's character and subsequently to the readers perception of his character. Ultimately it provides the preparation for Esteban's death. This passage is the final major plot development in the novel and thus contributes significantly to the ending of The House of the Spirits. Prior to this exchange, the fate of Alba was unknown and likewise the ending of  The House of the Spirits was undecided. With Alba's future uncertain, Esteban, in his old age, is represented at his weakest point both physically and emotionally. This passage ends by concluding the uncertainty surrounding the ending of the story with Transito's statement, "It's Transito Soto, patrón. I did what you asked me to." p.478 At this stage, the reader is told that Alba will be released and thus Esteban will be able to die peacefully. Thus this pivotal scene helps lead the entire story to its conclusion, which is ultimately Esteban's death. In order to adequately prepare the reader for the ending, Allende opens a final window, for the reader, into the mind of Esteban Trueba; in his final speech, he reveals his internal feelings, much about his life and the reasons which made him turn to Transito Soto for help.

The passage begins in a narrative tone with Esteban writing that, "having waited for her to ask me that, I opened the floodgates to my soul and told her everything."p.474 Throughout The House of the Spirits there are a few points where Esteban's internal feelings are displayed, these are rare and normally recounted to himself. For the first time in the novel this conversation sees Esteban recounting his feelings to someone else in a full and uninhibited manner. This is shown linguistically by the discontinuous flow of his speech, he speaks without pause merely recounting his thoughts as they occur. His speech is almost written in a stream of consciousness style. The bare nature and uninhibited emotional out-pouring which occurs in this speech is representative of the final stage of his decline. It displays his loneliness and vulnerability whilst also showing the realization of his inevitable death which is evident when he states, "all that awaits me now is to die like a dog."p.475 However the main facet of Esteban's character which is displayed in this speech is his emotional reliance on Alba which up until this point he had never admitted so freely. The language also displays a sense of resilience in his character. At this point in the novel the reader has seen his decline from a position of wealth and political power and that he is "practically all alone in the world."p.474 After this speech the proceeding events all represent positive developments to Esteban thus this in terms of the plot the speech represents his lowest and weakest point. Thematically, the decline of Esteban both in the political and economic world and in his physical being alludes to a sense of futility in Esteban's life. Moreover a main theme throughout the novel, the value of family, is fore-grounded in this passage, capturing his realisation that his priorities have moved past material wealth and instead his focus is his only remaining family connection, Alba.

As Esteban's speech progresses his tone changes from physical narration to more of an emotionally charged monologue. As Esteban begins the narration though he is physically and emotionally damaged he still sicks steadfastly to his political ideals. He states that he once "suggest[ed] the coup"p.476 and asserts that he is "not against repression" p.476 even though he "can't accept" p.476 the actions of the military afterwards. At this stage of the novel this is significant because despite the grim situation Esteban is in he sticks steadfastly to his principles. As he continues the narration changes tone to become more emotionally charged it is in this shift that his weakness and vulnerability at this stage becomes evident. In the latter part of the speech he is speaking not only to Transito but just as much to the reader. He talks about his frustration at being "powerless to stop them" p.476 and it is in this admission of powerlessness that he begins to explain why he turned to Transito. Thus he begins to display his human side, his weaknesses and his feelings. He has realized that in this situation he is unable to deal with it himself also realizing that Transito has "access to places [he] could never penetrate" p.476 This weakness is ever emphasised by the fact that Esteban only turns to Transito in times, like this one, of weakness. During their first encounter his weakness was sexual desire, the second it was his failure at making Clara reciprocate his feelings and the third was during his physically weak state after having lost Clara. This encounter however shows a change in his character; this time what he is asking of her is not to fulfil selfish desires rather to save his only remaining family bond. This passage utilizes juxtaposition to highlight his change in character since his previous encounters with Transito. It also highlights his decline by juxtaposing it with Transito's rise to a state of power.

 

The emotionally charged nature of Esteban's speech contributes to it's place as the climax of The House of the Spirits. This can be attributed to the fact that rescuing Alba would be the last major plot event after which the only issue that needs resolving is the imminent death of Esteban. The emotional tension which arises prior to this passage can be attributed to Esteban's frustration and futile attempts to rescue Alba. This emotional struggle is resolved in this speech as he releases this tension by sharing his inner feelings with Transito. Aside from this emotional tension the plot related tension is also resolved by Transito's successful attempt to rescue Alba which is captured in the pivotal line, "It's Transito Soto, patrón. I did what you asked me to." p.478. Another factor which confirms this passage's significance is that it reinforces a major theme of the novel, the power of women. Transito Soto though a minor character throughout the novel is catapulted in this passage to a position of great significance. In previous encounters between Esteban and Transito her resourcefulness was a major facet of her character. This was because of, according to Esteban, the fact that "she knows how to pay her debts." p.329 It is ultimately Esteban's dependence on her which positions Transito, after this final encounter, in a position of influence. She represents self-determination, the power of women and that even from the lowest position in society, a prostitute, one can become a person of power. Allende's choice to end the novel at this point leaves Transito in a position of emphasis thus highlighting all the themes and ideals she represents.

 

The final encounter between Esteban and Transito is vital to The House of the Spirits because it provides a revelation of Esteban's character, resolves the remaining plot issues and highlights the key themes of the novel. As perhaps a main point of emotional and plot related tension it relieves this and thus answers the remaining reader questions. In terms of character revelation is ends Esteban's life by highlighting his weakness and humanity. The passage is an exploration of Esteban and SAKDJFHLAKSJDFHLAKJDSF. This passage opens up Esteban in his entirety, and brings to an end the changes he goes through in the novel by blatantly displaying his final self. It concludes his decline both politically and emotionally and reinforces major themes in the novel such as; power, growth and the power of women. Above all, this pivotal passage is a defining moment both thematically literally which prepares The House of the Spirits for its conclusion.

 

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