Examining The Roles Of Women And Men English Literature Essay

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This finds expression in Allende's" The house of the spirits wherein the paternal authority is eliminated in order to reinforce the mother daughter relationships. Clara, the protagonist of the novel is clairvoyant which acts as an embarrassment for the Del vell family , so much so that her father restricts her to practice her clairvoyance. On the contrary her mother, Nivea De vele allowed her the freedom to move around and "leave her in peace with her spiritualist tricks". It is only her mother unconditional love for her child that makes her accept her daughter irrespective of whatever behavior she supports. The tradition is taken forward by Clara, who was always occupied by her mystical activities but she never faltered in her duty of a mother towards Blanca. Blanca grows up with her childhood love Pedro Tercero Garcia , who belongs to a lower class. the clandestine relationship comes to the forefront when Jean de satigny  reveals the truth to him. taking charge of the situation he brutally assaults Balnca:

 "Be quiet!" he roared. "You're getting married. I don't want any bastards in the family, do you hear me?" "I thought we already had several," Blanca replied.

    The relationship between them strengthens when she stops all communication with Esteban Trueba, so much so even forbade to use her marriage name in order to resist Blanca's forced marriage with Jean de Seatigny. The re defining moment of their relationship happens when she refuses to attend the wedding ceremony of her daughter with Seatigny. 

Blanca is the first in the Trueba family to opt for being a single mother, rejecting the traditional function of the self scarifying wife and the myth of family unity as the guarantee of conjugal harmony. She raises Alba outside the marriage structure believing that her daughter would only need her mother's presence in order to sustain, which holds true later in the text when Alba refuses to let her mother bring in her father figure in their house. The pattern of fatherless woman repeats itself with Alba's unborn daughter whose father's identity is not known since Alba was raped when in captivity. There forth in the concluding pages of the texts the reader once again experiences the beautiful mother daughter bond between Alba and her unborn child, despite the fact she was the result of the inevitable rape. Being a mother she looks forward to nurturing her child by giving motherhood priority over hatred.

"My mission is […] simply to fill these pages while I wait for Miguel, while I bury my grandfather, whose body lies beside me in this room, while I wait for better times to come, while I carry this child in my womb, the daughter of so many rapes or perhaps of Miguel, but above all, my own daughter"


The mother daughter relationship between Mama Elena and Tita is guarded by Hostility than love. A major reason being the tradition which forbids the youngest daughter in the De la Garza family not to marry for she needs to take care of the matriarch in the family till she breathes her last. however  when Pedro, Tita 's love , wishes to ask Mama Elena for Tita's hand in marriage ,she very firmly states to tita , "If he intends to ask for your hand, tell him not to bother . . ."10

It is at that very instance does tita realizes her miserable situation and swears "to protest her mother's ruling" (11).

The feeling of hositility remains even after incessant torture that Tita is afflicted with by Mama Elena for many years down the lane, so much so that tita is asked to leave the ranch. There comes a time when Mama Elena is really unwell and it is tita who forgetting all her woes decides to return to the ranch to look after her mother which was certainly not taken in a positive light by mama Elena for somewhere she was aware of the humiliation that she had meted out to Tita.


Tita decided to cure her mother with her culinary skills which was rewarded with mama elena's cruel rejection which, "she didn't undestand Mama  reject the kind gesture in such a brutal manner . . ." (130-131). In false hope tita  expected things to change with time but on the contaray mama Elena's attitude towards her daughters was the same as it was towards herself many years ago.

Mama Elena's death enlighetend Tita of a man named Jose in her mother's life, whom she had truly loved . On reading the letters that she had written to Jose she was able to comprehend  her mother's behaviour even  after all that they had gone through, Tita thought at least some things had changed. "José was the love of her life. She hadn't been allowed to marry him because he had Negro blood in his veins . . . When Mama Elena's parents discovered the love that existed between their daughter and this mulatto, they were horrified and forced her into an immediate marriage with . . . Tita's father." 137

To Tita's utter dismay Mama Elena's torture did not get buried with her bones for her ghost came to lash at her degrading the family reputation when she said, "You and Pedro are shameless . . . you behave like a good woman, or a decent one at least!" (199)

this time Tita, having found the truth revolted, "What do you mean, decent? Like you? . . . Or didn't you have an illicit child? . . . I hate you, I've always hated you!" (199). These magic words made Mama Elena disappear from Tita's life forever. Thus tradition was the root cause of the hostility between Mama Elena and Tita.

Both Isabel Allende and Laura Esquivel have written female oriented texts but both project the relation between a mother and daughter in a different light. Clara's daughter Blanca and Mama Elena's daughter Tita may have led a disturbing life because of the circumstances they were placed in but Blanca had the strong presence of her mother in her life who made an effort to make her presence felt even long after she was gone, guiding and protecting her daughtes. On the other hand Tita was procrastinated from the De la Garza family once she was sent to asylum. In The house of the Spirits all the three women stood by each other through thick and thin which is missing in Like Water for Chocoloate

  What makes both the works appealing to the reader is the panorama of both negative and positive shades of a mother daughter relation which can both be so inspiring that it can pull out a daughter from the death well and so de-motivating  that it can force a daughter to take recluse ti insanity in order to escape the torture inflicted on her.