Re: The House of the Spirits; Clara the Clairvoyant
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographi ... _structure
As in other Latin American countries, in Chile, from the onset of Spanish colonization and settlement, race mixing or mestizaje was the norm rather than the exception. Today, ethnic and racial self-identities are highly fluid and can differ between persons of the same family, including siblings of the same parentage. It is dictated not only by strict physical appearance, nor more loosely by ancestry (actual or presumed), but by cultural patterns, social class, wealth and access, language, and prevailing biases of the era. One social study conducted by Francisco Lizcano from UNAM suggested that people of European self-identity made up 52.7% of the population and that Mestizos made up 44% of the population. Another social study suggested a self-identified white majority that would exceed 60% of the Chilean population. However, a genetic study conducted by the University of Chile found that within the Chilean population, 30% are of European descent and Mestizos with mostly European ancestry are 65% of the population.
The peasants are mixed race - mestizo. Traditionally the aristocracy, which includes Esteban and Clara, excluded those of indigenous blood, while the peasants are mixed. Clara's sense of spiritual identification with the land makes her an ambiguous case, highly valuing indigeneity while herself probably coming from entirely European stock. The civil war in Chile had its roots in the conflict between Europe and the indigenes, but the centuries of mixing meant that the identity of even the aristocrats owed much to the older local traditions. Esteban seeks to deny the validity of these local traditions, which is why everyone hates him.