Characters in both The House of the Spirits (THOTS) and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (WOV) share a similar ideas based on gender. The women in both texts are strong, independent, driven and more complex. While on the other hand men are driven by selfishness and pleasure. Although they portray similar ideas on gender there are differences in the characters. An obvious difference between the female characters in both the texts has to do with the way they handle being mistreated by the male characters. In WOV, the women’s actions were more dramatic than those of Clara or Blanca. For example, after Pepa found out that Ivan was leaving on vacation with another woman so she burned her bed, called him so many times that she got frustrated and broke her phone and even contemplated suicide. While her THOTS counterpart Clara simply dealt with her mistreatment at Esteban’s hands by cutting him out from her life. I think the women in THOTS were not as hypnotized by men as the women in WOV because they had more of a sense of who they were. And by this I mean that strong women raised them, therefore growing up they had a stronger sense of independence. For example Clara and Blanca were both immune to the tantrums Esteban and Pedro Tercero, and I feel that the women in WOV would have handled those situations differently. Canby from the New York Times states that the women in WOV are like this because they are in “ very special farcical universe, where outrageous coincidences are the norm and where logic dictates that a forgotten blender full of spiked gazpacho will be drunk by the wrong person” (Canby, NYtimes). Another conclusion that can be made about why the women in WOV were more dramatic is that everything in the film was more dramatic like the way their femininity is more emphasized than those in THOTS. Kempley from the Washington Post made it clear by stating that Pepa had “the good sense to go dressed to kill” when she was going to confront Ivan at the airport (Kempley, Wash.Post). Therefore since the women in WOV were represented more feminine way maybe that’s why they had more dramatic reactions. Either way Kempley also acknowledges that WOV is full on coincidences that could only occur in a “farcical universe”. In the end both texts had their realist and magical elements, but what they convey through their characters is what really matters.

Work Cited:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/womenonthevergeofanervousbreakdownnrkempley_a0c9d8.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=940DE2D7123DF930A1575AC0A96E948260

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