My Own Personal Spirit (my almost autobiography)

I was absolutely seething. It was already turning out to be one of those days where it’s exhausting just to exist, and going from class to class was taking all of my energy and every conversation was irking me beyond belief. Half of me wanted to fall asleep right on my desk in history while the other half wanted to stand up, turn around, and scream at the boys sitting behind me. For an interminable amount of time, minutes that seemed like agonizingly annoying hours, they whispered about girls in our class, making disgusting comments and providing completely unwarranted and revolting commentary that I would have happily died without hearing. The teacher did not even notice, as we were all talking and working individually on projects, and the boys’ talking just became part of the noise.

This incident was one in a long line of irritating moments that challenged my patience and my will to stay silent for long periods of time. Most of the time, I am able to keep my thoughts to myself – particularly controversial or negative thoughts, opinions that I just assume people will not want to hear because it makes me sound overemotional and angry, and I want people to be happy around me and not see me as too opinionated. This, though, was not a matter of opinion. I felt my personal existence being challenged, others speaking about things that should not have been their concerns, and everything built up inside me. I would soon find that these types of degrading comments could be heard while walking down the street, in a store, on television or in the movies, or even heard from friends and family and people I thought were different, better than that. Lines began to blur and the frustration within me turned from a slowly blossoming flower to a volcanic explosion after another small, but paramount, incident, in which my entire view changed.

I was sitting there, listening to the boys behind me and wondering what the world had come to, trying to get my feelings in check but also trying to remind myself that it was okay to be angry and okay if I was angry specifically at those boys. I asked my teacher if I could go to the restroom. I just wanted to leave the room for a few minutes, get away from this, forget how I felt for a minute. It happens too often – my thoughts fill up my head like clouds, layering over one another and blocking anything else from entering my mind. I was grateful to enter the silence of the empty bathroom. My mind started to clear, I felt less like the stereotypical angry feminist – which is what I wanted to avoid.

I leaned against the counter and wished. I wished for someone who would understand my thoughts, someone who had them too, someone who knew how to let them out properly. I wanted to tell people what I thought of them but I was too anxious to do it in person, especially in a situation like I was having in the middle of a classroom. I was leaning against the counter, still simmering in all of my thoughts, when I saw something – someone – start to take shape in front of me.

It was a person. A woman, with a flowing dress, long hair, a gentle but determined expression. She smiled at me as she came into view completely. I was so startled I jumped and knocked my shoulder into the paper towel dispenser.

“Ow ow ow,” I yelped, grabbing my arm. “Who are you?”

“Exactly who you wished for,” the woman said, laughing a little. “My name is Clara. You wanted to talk to someone? About being a girl, how to handle that, what to say to people when you’re feeling… a bit intense?”

I let go of my shoulder, squirmed a little. “I’m just a little confused. Like I was just in class, and people were saying such degrading things, and I hear stuff on TV all the time that I don’t really like either, and it’s just so frustrating. I feel a certain way but I don’t want to get angry about it because I’m not supposed to be angry, and I want to be nice and pleasant, but then other times all I want to do is punch someone’s teeth out.”

Clara’s eyebrows rose. “Well, I know how that feels. More than anything.”

“So you can help?” I asked.

She nodded, walking (more like floating) across the room and leaning against the counter beside me. “A long, long time ago I had this same thing happen with my…” A tear rolled down her cheek, I could see the stars in her eyes, the memories flying past like film reels playing, and if she hadn’t obviously been a spirit I would have reached out and touched her arm for comfort. “Someone I loved dearly. This was all I could think to do, to help her, I just came to her to tell her that even though everything seemed like it was bigger than herself, like she couldn’t handle what people were saying and how they were treating her, I told her one little thing. And it changed everything.”

“What was it?” I asked, standing up straighter, my mind going crazy again.

“I told her to make it a story,” Clara said. “Her life, her family’s, everything that seemed too crazy to handle, write it all down. Well, she couldn’t write it down just then, but she did, one day soon after.”

“Write it down? That’s your huge advice?” I wrinkled my nose. “I write everything down. Writing is my thing. But this seems like it may be too big to write.”

Clara nodded somberly. “It can seem like that. And it may take a while, and a lot of organization, and a lot of drafts, but in the end you’ll have a story. Your thoughts, and your story. And that is something only you can do.”

I start to thank Clara, but before I can even get one sentence out she disappears. Her body disintegrates, and I’m left with a feeling of fullness and brightness and like everything is changing.

That’s why instead of saying these ideas, I write them down. Just like this story. It lets me lay out everything just how I want it to be, so it is coherent and specific and as straightforward as possible. All the details are there and everything seems right. Clara changed everything for me in that one simple moment with her own story and showed me how important stories can be. One simple spirit and I finally understood.

Ghosts and Girls: The Intersection of Supernaturalism and Feminism in Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits (research + thematic analysis)

Allende’s use of supernaturalism in The House of the Spirits directly propagates the novel’s prominent theme of feminism. Without their supernatural powers, which are unique to their gender in the novel, the three generations of Trueba women would not be able to stand up to the men in their life – namely, patriarch Esteban Trueba. Clara, Blanca, and Alba all find a sense of courage in their spiritual connections to one another and to the deceased. This courage drives the plot of the novel as each woman is introduced into the family and ages in her own individual fashion. This affects their relationships with one another as well as with the male characters, as the Trueba women are faithfully connected to each other through their mysterious supernatural powers. By the end of the novel, it is evident that the theme of supernaturalism is thoroughly integrated with the presence of tenacious women in the novel, and can be credited for giving them a strong voice against all opposing forces and connecting them emotionally to one another.

As the first generation Trueba woman, Clara begins the sequence of supernaturalism. Her “powers provoke and disturb her priest,” (Jenkins) who decides she is possessed. Her father, a prominent political figure, does not want an embarrassment of a cursed child. Her husband, Esteban Trueba, repeatedly denounces her opinion as valid and would rather Clara stay a silent and complacent wife. Clara denies this option throughout the novel. When she decides to stay silent, it is her own choice and it is exclusively silence towards Esteban. The use of supernaturalism “reveal[s] alternative experiences that formal realism can neither portray nor contain sufficiently,” and “may also serve as a specific rhetorical strategy both to expose and counter the androcentric social and literary scripts that circumscribe “acceptable” behavior” (Jenkins). Clara defies social norms, refusing to live by anyone’s rules other than her own. She knows she is the best person to decide what is best for herself, and gives Esteban many chances to redeem himself in her life before deciding to stop speaking with him. She makes this decision extremely late in her life, late in their relationship, and even though it seems like an extreme choice, all she is doing is not speaking. She could have emotionally exploded and fought with him for years, as she had plenty of evidence against his faithfulness and could have argued that he had never been level-headed, but she took a morally high route and simply cut him out of her life. This gave Clara the opportunity to live how she wanted, and she ended up living much longer than her husband. Clara’s feminist strengths come from her own mother. “While Nivea enthusiastically promoted feminist causes, Clara quietly continued her own fight for freedom within her own home” to “escape the domination of her husband” (Garcia-Johnson 185). Clara builds the foundation for her daughter and granddaughter, and even from the otherworld is able to supplement their feminist fights.

Blanca inherits her mother’s spirit for fighting for her rights, but not her exact connection to spirits. Blanca defies her father’s wishes many times over, namely by having a secret relationship with Pedro Tercero. They are obviously interested in one another from their childhood years together, but Esteban Trueba disapproves. He forces her to wed Count Jean de Satigny, but Blanca runs away to meet with Pedro Tercero. Even though she ultimately does not divorce Count de Satigny and they stay married until he later passes uneventfully, Blanca’s true love of her life is Pedro Tercero. She obeys her father on this account of marriage, but Blanca keeps “a sacred space within her womb for the product of her union with Pedro: Alba” (Garcia-Johnson 190). Blanca’s methods of standing up to Esteban and holding her own in the novel are more subtle than Nivea’s ouvert feminism, Clara’s conspicuous dislike of Esteban’s controlling personality, and Alba’s later defiance of the political system. As a character, however, Blanca’s role in The House of the Spirits is imperative. Her actions inspire her daughter Alba to pursue her own secretive, forbidden (mostly by Esteban) relationship. Without that relationship, Alba’s ultimate acts of defiance and her most dramatic successes would likely not exist at all.

Alba plays an important role as the last generation Trueba woman in the novel. “Alba perpetuates a cyclical repetition of the human experience, one which prevents time from becoming simply a linear progression of events and ensures a connection between herself and her predecessors across all spatial and temporal boundaries” (Frick). Alba’s supernatural connections defeat what would be seen as normal, or even possible. She not only breaks past these boundaries of time and space, but she also breaks many rules in her own life. From her grandmother and mother, Alba learns to be feisty and to demand what she wants. None of the Trueba women are bystanders in any situation, Alba the least of them all. Alba joins a protest at her school and also cultivates a secret romance with Miguel, like her mother did with Pedro Tercero. In the end, Alba’s determination and will to fight gets her in trouble with the military. She spends a long time in captivity, kidnapped by Colonel Garcia and his men. She is beaten and sexually assaulted and for a long time, Alba does not think she will make it out alive. Likely the most important interaction of supernaturalism and feminism happens with Alba at the very end of the novel. First, she manages to connect with her grandmother Clara, who she is initially trying to summon so Clara can help her die. Alba has lost all hope and is at the point where she would prefer to be dead than to suffer another minute in the literal doghouse Colonel Garcia has sent her to. Instead of fulfilling this request, however, Clara “appeared with the novel idea that the point was not to die, since death came anyway, but to survive, which would be a miracle” (Allende 414). Alba takes Clara’s advice and begins to write stories in her head. She writes of everything that happened with her family, everything they ever did, to occupy her brain and keep her hope alive in that tiny doghouse. She “survives her torturous captivity by the “saving idea of writing” the spirit of her Grandmother provides (414)” (Jenkins). When the military guards come to retrieve her after they hear she has stopped eating and is dying, they bring her to Colonel Garcia. Alba, however, “did not recognize him. She was beyond his power” (Allende 414). From Clara’s advice at just the right moment when she was about to drop everything and submit to the overwhelming fear and strength Colonel Garcia had over her, Alba found her own strength. If it were not for her ability to connect with Clara’s spirit, Alba could have let herself die in the doghouse. Then she is taken first to a clinic and then to a concentration camp for women. Here, the women unite to help one another get through one day at a time. They have a strong sense of togetherness and facing the world head-on as a collective group, a trait that is often referred to when describing female friendships in real life as well. Women are known for connecting easily with one another and being extremely emotionally understanding, and that is just how the concentration camp prisoners are. In the end, Alba is freed from the camp and because of her courage that has slowly built up throughout her story, she is brave enough to write her family’s entire story just as she had written in her head while trapped in the doghouse.

Isabel Allende wrote the novel based on true events that happened in Chile in the early 1970s. According to Scott MacDonald Frame, because Allende wrote based on her own experiences in her own country, “La casa de los espiritus does merit attention as a plausible albeit fictionalized version of a subjective and personal view of Chile’s history.” Frame also adds that “La casa de los espiritus is not an historical novel in its own right; more a (her)story about a tragic family’s history.” This real-world context adds a dimension to the feminist themes. Allende lived through events extremely similar to the political conflicts in The House of the Spirits, using her life not just as an inspiration but as a direct source from which to draw a realistic story. There are fantastical elements to the novel, and many would question the real-world possibility of the women’s telepathic powers, but this real political tie-in adds to the realness of the novel as a whole. While women in the real world, at least modern women in our American society, do not typically subscribe to the belief that they are spiritually connected to one another and to the otherworld, the feminist issues brought up by this theme are deeply relevant to 1970s as well as modern feminism. This timeless relevance of the issues tackled makes the novel applicable to any generation up to the present.

The way that the themes of supernaturalism and feminism intersect in this novel is key to its structure and emotional depth. The telepathic abilities of the Trueba women add another dimension to their obviously deep connections. This strengthens their relationships with one another, and in turn strengthens each individual. Though defining the women as feminists themselves is a contentious point with some critics, it is agreed that they are strong characters themselves. Their actions reflect those of feminists in 1970s Chile, but they could be inspirations for modern women in America or any country on earth, and that shows the theme of feminism. The characters also find courage to defy dominating males and even oppressive government regimes through their unique characteristics as women and their spiritual connections. Both of these themes are necessary in The House of the Spirits because they interact so seamlessly throughout the text and need one another to be as exhaustive as they are in description. Clara, Blanca, and Alba Trueba find their supernatural strengths, and therefore their strengths in all their lives, in their house of spirits.

Image result for chile feminism

Image result for chile feminism

Sources:

Frame, Scott Macdonald. “The literal and the literary: a note on the historical references in Isabel Allende’s La casa de los espiritus.” Studies in Twentieth Century Literature, vol. 27, no. 2, 2003, pp. 217-230.

Frick, Susan R. “Memory and Retelling: The Role of Women in La casa de los espiritus.” Journal of Iberian & Latin American Studies, vol. 7, no. 1, 2001, pp. 27-41.

García-Johnson, Ronie-Richele. “The Struggle for Space: Feminism and Freedom in ‘The House of the Spirits.’” Revista Hispanica Moderna, vol. 47, no. 1, 1994, pp. 184-193.

Jenkins, Ruth Y. “Authorizing female voice and experience: ghosts and spirits in Kingston’s The Woman Warrior and Allende’s The House of the Spirits.” MELUS, vol. 19, no. 3, 1994, pp. 61-73.

Metaphors of Love and Loneliness

The use of metaphors in One Hundred Years of Solitude, Il Postino, and Pablo Neruda’s poetry is simultaneously obvious and not obvious. I personally can’t really define a metaphor. I know them when I see them, and I have probably accidentally written some before, but when directly asked what metaphors are, I freeze up. The idea itself is a little backwards. The film’s definition was somehow reassuringly vague for me: it’s a description of one thing by talking about another thing. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez uses symbolism to convey the title itself, while Pablo Neruda’s poetry and the poems in Il Postino use metaphors to convey a much happier emotion.

In One Hundred Years of Solitude, most (if not all) of the prominent symbols point towards loneliness. Every character, at least for a certain period of time, goes through a bout of solitude. For some, this solitude is punctuated with death or is over very quickly, but others go through lifetimes of it. This loneliness is the fate of the Buendia line. It was fate for Aureliano to be born with a pig tail, it was fate to continue the naming traditions throughout the family tree, and it was the fate of the seventeen Aurelianos to be shot in the center of their Ash Wednesday crosses. All of these lines of fate led to eventual solitude in death. Garcia Marquez uses several symbols for loneliness that are individualized for the characters – Colonel Aureliano’s obsession with the golden fish, Amaranta’s black bandage, Jose Arcadio Buendia’s tree, Aureliano’s reading of Melquiades’ manuscripts, and more. Even Macondo’s eventual loneliness and isolation is shown through the deterioration of the railroad system, disconnecting the town from the outside world. My favorite symbol is Amaranta’s black bandage because it is self-inflicted. Amaranta chooses her loneliness and seems to somewhat choose her fate as a forever unmarried woman by marking herself permanently after Pietro Crespi’s suicide, wearing the black bandage of mourning for the rest of her life. Garcia Marquez establishes these symbols so that at the end of the novel, everything is tied together and made clear. The fate of the Buendia family tree is complete isolation because at the end, all the family is gone. Individually, these symbols seem random and the correlation is not totally visible. When it happens over a one hundred year period, though, the intent behind the symbols is made clear.

The film’s definition of metaphor reflected the simplicity of Neruda’s poetry, like how he opens Walking Around with “It so happens I am sick of being a man.” My favorite metaphor in this poem is “I don’t want to go on being a root in the dark, / insecure, stretched out, shivering with sleep …” Neruda is tired of the monotony of routine In that poem Neruda uses metaphors and symbolism to depict loneliness like in One Hundred Years of Solitude, but he also covers the much more pleasant topic of love in other poems. In I Like for You to Be Still, Neruda writes, “You are like my soul / A butterfly of dream / And you are like the word: Melancholy.” Neruda shows that metaphors are exactly this: melancholy, a strangely warming and pensive sadness. Melancholy is the kind of word used to describe long nighttime car rides or staring out a window into the rain. Neruda’s powerful metaphors illuminate deep human sentiments that we all share but maybe don’t know how to articulate.

Roger Ebert said of Il Postino that Mario “proves that poetry can work to seduce women.” Mario’s poetry in the film, under Neruda’s tutelage, turns out more like real-life Neruda’s desperately romantic poetry than his lonely poetry reflective of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Mario’s first metaphor he creates, piggybacking on Neruda’s recitation of a poem about the ocean, is hearing the poem made him feel like a boat tossing around on the waters. Mario starts by writing what he knows, and then turns to the topic of romance by writing about Beatrice. That’s what drew Mario to Neruda in the first place – he wanted to know how he was constantly surrounded by beautiful women. Neruda’s poetry is known for its “fleshy yet surrealistic imagery” (Stack), and Mario’s adaptation of this into his poetry is what ultimately gets Beatrice’s attention.

I thought the contrast here between the use of metaphors/symbolism for inciting negative feelings and positive feelings was compelling. Garcia Marquez’s work is legendary and considered a classic, but its symbols are about loneliness and isolation and death. Neruda’s work is arguably equally famous, but most of its metaphors are pleasant (or at the very least, they give people a comforting feeling that someone understands them, as Mario showed through his first metaphor). The multiplicity of metaphors is what makes them such a crucial and versatile tool in literature.

Sources:

Ebert, Roger. “The Postman (Il Postino) Movie Review (1995).” Roger Ebert.com. N.p., 23 June 1995. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

Stack, Peter. “‘Postman’ Delivers Poetic Love Letters / Heartbreaking Melodrama from Italy.” SFGate. N.p., 23 June 1995. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

Double Standards

In both Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and The House of the Spirits, the main female characters fight to defy the words with negative connotations that are often used to describe women. These labels leave women horrifically boxed-in, but the women in these works find a way to push through it.

In Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Paulina acts snarky to Pepa because Pepa has been seeing Ivan. We don’t see Paulina angry with Ivan for being with another girl at all. At the end of the film, she’s headed off with him to Stockholm. The fact that Paulina chooses not to place blame on Ivan is, I think, more a statement about how women are treated by society than about women being petty or catfighting over a guy. If you think about celebrity relationship drama in the media today, a lot of it centers around the woman’s actions. Women are so often “belittlingly labelled” (Nunn) with negative words, especially desperate. Desperate is my favorite (hint: I’m being sarcastic) term used to discuss women in romantic relationships, because men are rarely called desperate. In the film, Paulina sees Pepa as the desperate one, not Ivan, even though both of them are engaged in the exact same affair. This double standard is perpetrated by the media and women themselves.

Once we’re labeled in a certain way, it can be nearly impossible to rebrand ourselves, and the women in these works suffer through this. Gary Nunn says “our language stigmatises and stifles” women. In The House of the Spirits, Esteban is so overwhelming and intimidating that the women in his life assume their roles as the quiet caretakers who question nothing. Of course, they all find their ways of opposing him in the end (Clara gives him the silent treatment, Blanca is with Pedro Tercero and really doesn’t care what her dad says, Alba joins the revolution), and they are ultimately able to change their labels. They define themselves however they want to be defined, rather than letting Esteban (or any other man) tell them who they are supposed to be. The double standard here, though, is that Esteban holds overbearing power from the beginning of the novel, while the women have to fight for it. Then, the women are called “strong female characters” while the men are just “male characters,” as if all the men are strong and we don’t have to differentiate them like we do the women. Doesn’t “strong male character” sound weird to say? This change of power is seen in the ending of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown as well, as Pepa eventually doesn’t even care about Ivan anymore and just wants to be rid of the entire dramatic situation. She thwarts Lucia’s murder attempt, tells Ivan she doesn’t need him anymore (yay!), and goes home.

The women in both of these works know who they are and what they want, and even though it takes different amounts of time, they all eventually realize this. Their self-confidence grows and they are able to take control of their own lives and show that they are more than what people make of them.

Works Cited:

Nunn, Gary. “The Feminisation of Madness Is Crazy | Mind Your Language.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 08 Mar. 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

The House of the Spirits vs. Volver

On the surface, The House of the Spirits and Volver have many attributes in common. They both prominently feature female characters, and the theme of spirituality is central to both. Specifically, the characters of Clara and Raimunda share many similarities, and the theme of caring for the dead is visible in both.

Raimunda is willing to do just about anything to protect her daughter, much like Clara is with Blanca. As soon as Esteban turns violent against Clara regarding Blanca’s romance with Pedro Tercero, Clara moves with Blanca back to the city. Clara is calm and collected in most situations, probably because she is partially detached from feeling intense emotions. Esteban feels so strongly and acts so severely that Clara must be his polar opposite to balance him out. Like Clara, Raimunda wants to protect Paula from her father – or “father,” as Paula discovers later – Paco. This includes hiding and properly disposing of Paco’s body after Paula kills him in self-defense as he was trying to assault her. Raimunda and Clara both love their daughters unconditionally, and feel a strong connection to them.

Both the novel and film also share a theme of reverence for the dead. In The House of the Spirits, several characters pass away as the novel moves through the generations of the Trueba clan. Clara carefully cares for Ferula’s body after finding her dead, and Pedro Garcia is given an elaborate funeral upon his passing. In Volver, Raimunda and Sole (and Paula, albeit against her will) carefully and lovingly clean their mother’s headstone. Sole, Paula, and Agustina seem to find it comforting, rather than alarming, that Irene’s “ghost” has returned to be with them (when they still believe she is a ghost and haven’t discovered the truth). Their connection to the spiritual world is prominent in their lives. Both works incorporate this idea of magical realism – a slightly fantastic idea of ghosts and spirits clashing with the characters’ relatively normal lives. This is evident in Volver as reviewer Eric D. Snider points out: “The women work on patching up their fractured relationships while hiding fugitives and disposing of bodies, managing the mundane along with the extraordinary.”

The female characters in both the novel and film work to maintain positive relationships with one another, and are willing to defend each other in all situations. Kristin Dreyer Kramer sums up the film as “a memorable film about the strong—but often difficult—relationship between mothers and daughters.” We don’t really see the male characters having these meaningful relationships with each other; rather, their main purpose seems to be terrorizing the female characters and attempting to somehow defeat them, in one way or another. Esteban is cruel to his wife and daughter, driving them away. Paco is overall disgusting, and attempts to rape his daughter just because she is not his biological daughter. These depictions of males are negative, but serve a purpose: showing the strength of the female characters, who are powerful in spite of their difficult families and marriages.

Both The House of the Spirits and Volver use an environment of magical realism to depict women who know what they want: strong relationships with the other female characters based on mutual respect and admiration. If that means leaving, ignoring, or killing the main male characters, that’s just part of the story.

Works Cited:

Kramer, Kristen Dreyer. “Volver.” Nights And Weekends. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2016.

Snider, Eric D. “Movie Review: Volver (Spanish).” Eric D. Snider. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2016.

Esteban’s Ungratefulness

My favorite part of “The Lovers” was when Old Man Pedro saved Esteban’s life after the earthquake. He did not hesitate, and did not even exactly offer his services. He said Esteban would die if he were moved to a doctor’s office, and then Esteban said it was okay for Pedro to operate on him. Esteban just said, “‘He knows what he’s doing,'” (161) and then let an ancient blind man (who had every right to not help him after being manipulated and mistreated for many years) go to town on his misplaced bones.

His faith and trust in Old Man Pedro was surprising to me. Maybe it should not have been, though, because here’s the thing: Esteban berates and belittles the people at Tres Marias (and really anyone who is not living up to his impossibly high, not clearly defined standards), and all of the working/lower class, until he needs their help. He acts like they are so unnecessary and just mooching off of him. (Which does not make sense, because they’re the ones building and planting and working in the hacienda. But Esteban likes to credit himself as the restorer of Tres Marias, so I’ll just chalk this up to his inflated opinion of himself.) When Pedro Tercero is talking to his father, he says that “he was breaking his back to restore the patron’s wealth while the rest of them would remain as poor as they had been before.” Pedro Segundo calls this “the law of God,” saying that things won’t change because this is just how they’ve always been (163). Esteban also whipped Pedro Tercero after he discussed ideas like maternity leave, health plans, and minimum wage – things that we find normal today – showing just how controlling Esteban wants to be of his workers. This reminded me of the Progressive movement in the early 1900s, when the FDA developed and ideas of worker’s unions and health insurance first came to light.

I liked seeing the beginning of Pedro Tercero’s challenging of the social norms, and I’m excited to see the development of a true revolution. Esteban’s general disdain for the lower class who work so hard for him and his hacienda is disgustingly selfish, and I’m more than ready to see someone try to shut him down.

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This stock photo of the Chilean countryside is actually what I’ve been imagining Tres Marias looking like!

Pan’s Labyrinth

The most interesting thing to me about Pan’s Labyrinth was the lack of explanation as it left details and background information out of the storyline. I think it shows a lot about Ofelia’s trust of magic and fairy tales. She did what the Faun said, even though he had just randomly shown up and was making outrageous claims about her identity. However, she decided to defy the Faun at the end of the movie by not handing over her baby brother. I think Ofelia was choosing reality over fairy tales, in a way, because she thinks her brother was more important than being able to live out a fairy tale life and have a new family and immortality. Also, her brother is a strong connection to her mother, and she decides to cling onto this rather than the fairy tales she has loved for so long.

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