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The House of the Spirits | Study Guide

Isabel Allende

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Course Hero. "The House of the Spirits Study Guide." Course Hero. 3 Aug. 2017. Web. 28 May 2023. <>.

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Course Hero. (2017, August 3). The House of the Spirits Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 28, 2023, from

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Course Hero. "The House of the Spirits Study Guide." August 3, 2017. Accessed May 28, 2023.


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The House of the Spirits | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Esteban Trueba meets Rosa

    Esteban Trueba falls in love with Rosa, and they become betrothed.

    Chapter 1
  • 2 years later

    Rosa dies; Clara witnesses the autopsy, stops speaking, and begins writing her notebooks.

    Chapter 1
  • Shortly thereafter

    Esteban Trueba begins restoring his family's country estate, Tres Marías.

    Chapter 2
  • 9 years later

    Clara begins speaking again and announces she will soon marry Esteban Trueba.

    Chapter 3
  • 1 year later

    Esteban and Clara wed and move into the big house he builds in the city.

    Chapter 3
  • About a year later

    Blanca is born.

    Chapter 3
  • About 2 years later

    Clara moves the household to Tres Marías for the first time.

    Chapter 4
  • 2 or 3 years later

    Jaime and Nicolas are born.

    Chapter 4
  • More than a decade later

    Blanca and Pedro Tercero Garcia become lovers at Tres Marías.

    Chapter 5
  • 3 years later

    A huge earthquake destroys Tres Marías and nearly kills Esteban Trueba.

    Chapter 5
  • About 3 years later

    Esteban Trueba beats Blanca and knocks out Clara's teeth after discovering Blanca's affair.

    Chapter 6
  • Several weeks later

    Esteban Trueba cuts off Pedro Tercero's fingers while trying to kill him.

    Chapter 6
  • Within weeks

    Pregnant Blanca is forced to marry Count Jean de Satigny, and they move north.

    Chapter 7
  • Several months later

    Blanca leaves Satigny and returns to the big house in time to give birth to Alba.

    Chapter 9
  • 7 years later

    Clara dies.

    Chapter 9
  • More than a decade later

    A Socialist president is elected.

    Chapter 12
  • 3 years later

    A military coup overthrows the government and institutes a dictatorship.

    Chapter 13
  • About a year later

    Esteban Trueba gets Blanca and Pedro Tercero out of the country.

    Chapter 13
  • Within months

    Alba is arrested and tortured until her grandfather secures her release.

    Chapter 14
  • Months later

    Esteban Trueba dies peacefully; Alba begins writing this story.


Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 The novel opens with a sentence written by Clara when she is a young child: "Barrabás came to us by sea." The events sur... Read More
Chapter 2 As the chapter opens, Esteban Trueba is at the Trueba family home with his sister, Férula, and their invalid mother. The... Read More
Chapter 3 Chapter 3 opens with a reminder of Clara's silence, which began the night she witnessed Rosa's autopsy and lasts for nin... Read More
Chapter 4 When this very long chapter opens, Blanca has reached toddlerhood. When it ends she is nearing the end of childhood. The... Read More
Chapter 5 Blanca matures into an adolescent without anyone in the big house much noticing. But the summer her body has ripened int... Read More
Chapter 6 Within about 18 months, Tres Marías has once again been turned into a "model estate," and Esteban Trueba has survived in... Read More
Chapter 7 When Blanca and Clara get back to the city, Clara—who has "no patience with misfortune"—goes into a frenzy of activity t... Read More
Chapter 8 Now readers catch up with what is happening in Blanca's life, details of which can be filled in because Blanca and Clara... Read More
Chapter 9 When Blanca arrives at the big house, she is having contractions. Baby Alba is born quickly, feet first, assisted into t... Read More
Chapter 10 Esteban Trueba begins the narration 20 years after Clara's death. He recalls the night she died, when he locked himself ... Read More
Chapter 11 When Alba has finished school she goes on to the university to study philosophy and music. Before long she falls in love... Read More
Chapter 12 When the presidential election finally arrives, the Socialist Party candidate wins. The response by those who despise so... Read More
Chapter 13 The chapter opens with the announcement that there is a coup. Jaime is summoned early in the morning to the Presidential... Read More
Chapter 14 Alba's torture at the hands of Esteban García is described in detail. What they say want from her is the whereabouts of ... Read More
Epilogue With the opening line of the Epilogue—"My grandfather died last night"—the identity of the omniscient narrator is finall... Read More
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