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In the novel, the house of the spirits, the special bond between mothers and daughters portrays motherhood relationship throughout the novel. This relationship is the one that actually adds support to the story. The reason as to why I am saying this is because when Clara dies the connection between her daughters also dies, since she is the one who provided bonds between family members. It all starts with Nivea del valle's close motherhood relationship with Clara. As the narrator, Alba, tells us that;
"Nivea, despite having given birth to fifteen children, treated Clara as if she were an only child, creating a tie so strong that it continued into succeeding generations as a family tradition."
The qualities that Clara has are because of the love that is shown from Nivea, her mother. Clara also has three children and from the three, she treats Blanca as her only child. This is similar to what Nivea did. She had 15 children but treated Clara as her only daughter. Allende links the mothers and daughters through the meaning of their names, all of which refer to light. The names are: Nivea, "snow," Clara, "clear," Blanca, "white," and Alba, "dawn." Through naming, Allende suggests that in the midst of life's confusion, these women are each other's guiding lights. Compared to motherhood relationship between Clara and Blanca in the house of the sprits, the motherhood relation between Emma and Berth is not as strong as it is expected to be because Emma as a mother wanted to have a baby boy but she ends up giving birth to a daughter, Berthe and she continues to be despondent;
"When Emma is giving birth "She hoped for a sonâ€¦"
Emma was a woman with a very different perception of her life. She desired for freedom, a luxurious life and a high class society. But it seemed that none of them were working out for her. When she got to know that she was going to get pregnant, she was very excited and wished to have a son. As soon as she gave birth, all her wishes were diminished. Therefore, motherhood, too, proved to be a disappointment to Emma. Every woman would love to have a daughter rather than having a son, but in this case Emma strongly wanted to have a baby boy and this idea of having a son was like an expected revenge for all her importance in past. She is very emotionless to her own daughter since she was born .According to Emma, this is how she describes a man;
"A man, at least, is free; he can explore all passions and all countries, overcome obstacles, taste of the most distant pleasures. But a woman is always hampered"
Gustave Flaubert also uses unique writing styles to bring out the emotions that Emma has before the birth of Berth. For example when she longed for a son she even decided how her charming boy would be;
"He would be strong and dark, and she would call him Georges and the idea of bearing a male child was like an anticipated revenge for all the powerlessness of her past life."
This quotation shows us the readers the way how women were underprivileged and how badly they were disadvantaged in the Bourgeoisie society. They were actually underestimated for their powers.
The fact that she got a girl really disappointed her and because of this disappointment, she ended up hating her own daughter and this even made their mother-daughter relationship weaker. Her treatment of her daughter alone is enough to put most readers off because no mother would hate her daughter as Emma did even though they really wanted a son. There are wishes taking up such a large part of her life that her failure to translate them into any form raises so many problems in her life. And Berth is one of them. The underlying principle is that Emma's fate is not in her hands. Whatever she aims for never succeeds. For example she fell in love with two young charming gentlemen, who indeed loved Emma because of her looks, but they ended up betraying her at the end. In the same way, Emma's pregnancy was a disappointment for her, which is also evident for her fate not in her hands.
When it comes to Clara, she is totally different from Emma, in terms of a person and a mother. As described in the novel, the house of the spirits, Allende describes Blanca as being very ugly and hairy, due to the fact that she stayed in her mother's womb for a longer time than usual. But Clara was delighted to see her daughter.
"She took her child in her arms and would not her go. She went everywhere with her little girl clutched to her breasts, nursing her constantly without a set of schedule and without regard for manners or modesty, like an Indian."
In this quotation Clara is described as an Indian mother. The fact that Indian mothers are very caring and loving to their children is evident about how much she takes care of Blanca and how much she loves her. Even though Esteban lost interest in his own daughter immediately after she was born because he expected his daughter to be just as pretty and beautiful as his wife, Clara, Clara never thought of how bad her daughter is because she knew however bad her daughter looks like she is still their blood. The only disadvantage that Clara had toward this relationship is, she did not give the right morals to her daughter, Blanca. Although she showered her with infinite love, she didn't give her the right knowledge a woman needs to have. For example Blanca developed a love relationship with a peasant on her father's farm named Pedro Tercero García at a very young age. This continued until they both grew up. Since she knew that when her parents get to know about their love relationship, they would send her away, Blanca starts jumping out of her window every night so they can keep having romantic interludes. When Esteban finds out about this, she is seriously beaten up by her father. Clara tries to explain Esteban that he shouldn't do that but she as well ends up losing her teeth. Because of Blanca Clara leaves her husband and goes away with Blanca to the city. If Clara really taught Blanca the dignity she was supposed to have then they wouldn't have to face all these problems. This example shows us that Clara, as a mother understands her daughter. If it was some other person, then she would have probably thrown her daughter out of the house. But Clara didn't do that. She supported her daughter because she really loved her. I think this is the main aspect of motherhood relationship in the book. It really shows the real characteristics of a true mother that Clara portrays.
This is the kind thought that Emma lacks and because of this lack of understanding, she has totally failed to understand her daughter. Also the fact that she fixed a firm thought of only getting a son in her mind resulted in her detesting her daughter and having no feelings for her. And as a result, berth ends up working in a cotton mill because of her mother's egotistic spending and suicide and also because of her father's death
Maternal relationship in both the books is a literary theme that both the authors have used and this theme provides readers with an extensive characterization of the characters, Emma and berth and Clara and Blanca. It helps the reader in understanding these characters personality better.