Isabel Allende: Influential Novelist Essay

1716 words - 7 pages

Isabel Allende, a Latin-American writer, escaped her own assassination twice, and witnessed the destruction of her own family by her home country of Venezuela. Supporters of a military coup during the 1970’s directed their hatred and anger to the family, destroying their property and ultimately destroying their lives. Theses experiences kept Isabel Allende very close to her family, although later on finding herself in an emotional shock after the death of family members and substituting her pain by writing. In the midst of her life, Isabel Allende was inspired by her lifestyle changes during the Pinochet dictatorship and by the deaths of her grandfather and daughter to write such novels as Paula, The House of Spirits, and The City of The Beasts.
Allende had a displaced childhood up until the military coup of 1973 in Venezuela. At a very early age, Allende’s father, Tomas Allende, left Isabel’s home and mother behind (Rodden). The separation between Allende’s father and mother didn’t have an impact on her, but afterwards Allende’s mother remarried to diplomat Ramon Huidobro which complicated Allende’s life. As a diplomat, Huidobro took the family to wherever he worked, between Lebanon, Bolivia, and Chile until 1966 (Guardian). Since Allende was moving from country to country, she couldn’t keep a stable relationship with anyone outside of her family and the changing environments only confused and tortured Allende. This displacement created many of the plots and settings for her novels, especially in the City of The Beasts where the character gave the impression of being out of place. These emotions of loneliness and separation built into Allende’s writing style.
The military coup of 1973 demonstrated the evils of the incoming Pinochet dictatorship. At the time, Chile’s president was Salvadore Allende, first cousin removed to Allende, also known to Allende as “uncle” (Franklin). Allende did retain a close connection to the president up to his removal from office. Because the coup’s agenda was to overthrow the presidential family, Allende and her family were attacked on a daily basis by rioters and abolitionists, receiving death threats and at one time “escaped her own death twice” (Franklin). The months of constant harassment influenced Allende to a new creative thinking, leading her into the novel genre of “magical realism” (Levine). Magical realism is a form of writing in which a virtual world is created to coincide with reality (Levine). During this time Allende redeemed that “she was convinced not fled across the mountains… she would not become a writer (Guardian).
After these terrible times for over the first 30 years of her life, Allende’s mental state was still under attack after finding out her grandfather was terminally ill. Allende soon began to write a collection of letters to her grandfather up until the day of his death. Levine asked for Allende’s reaction to her grandfather’s death: “Allende could do nothing but distract...

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