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The House of the Spirits

Isabel Allende

Epilogue

Chapter 14, The Hour of Truth

Important Quotations Explained

Summary

During one of her tortures, Alba's hand is badly hurt and has become infected. Since Esteban Garcia does not want Alba to die, she is sent to the infirmary where a kindly nurse, Rojas, cares for her. Just as she is recovering from the infection, Transito's intervention takes affect. Alba is transferred to a women's concentration camp, where she again finds Ana Diaz. The women at the concentration camp support each other, and the guards treat them with relative decency. After only a few days at the concentration camp, the police take Alba and drop her off in a slum on the outskirts of the city. A poor family takes her in for the night, and in the morning the family brings Alba to Esteban Trueba in the big house on the corner. Esteban Trueba wants to leave the country with Alba, but he is not surprised when she refuses because he understands and accepts her love for Miguel. While Alba was missing, Miguel came to Esteban Trueba, and the two men worked together to find her. It was in fact Miguel's idea that Esteban Trueba ask Transito Soto for help.

Alba and Esteban Trueba realize that they must go on living. They fix up the house and decide to write together. With the help of Clara's notebooks, they start to compose the story of their family. In the process, both Alba and Esteban are able to let go of their anger and their desire for revenge. A few weeks later, at the age of ninety, Esteban Trueba dies. Alba is not, however, the last living member of her family: she is pregnant. The father of her unborn child may be Miguel, or it may be one of the men who raped her while she was detained.

Analysis

As is fitting an epilogue, the remaining conflicts are resolved. Esteban and Alba are reunited. Esteban is the oldest living member of the family, and Alba is the youngest. In the course of the epilogue, Esteban dies, and Alba is revealed to be pregnant. In the death of Esteban, the only character remaining form the very first chapter, the story comes to an end. Through Alba's unborn child, the epilogue projects the story into the future, so that in keeping with the cyclical motif, this ending is really a beginning.

The end of The House of the Spirits is also its beginning on several levels. The epilogue presents a story of how the story comes to be written. The end of Esteban's life and the beginning of Alba's pregnancy are also the beginning of their co-narration of the events leading up to that moment. On a formal level also, the end of The House of the Spirits is also its beginning. The verb in the main clause of the last sentence is "begins," and it introduces the last words of the novel, which are also the first: "Barrabas came to us by sea.... "

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