Re: The House of the Spirits; The Brothers
The two main events of this chapter are a wedding and an abortion. They are contrasted to illustrate that the marriage of Blanca and the Count is abortive. What is happening here is that Blanca loves Pedro Tercero, the romantic revolutionary singer, whom her conservative father Esteban hates. When Blanca gets pregnant to her lover, her father wishes to save face by arranging a society marriage. The elaborate farce, with cathedral, bishops and 500 guests, includes a wedding dress designed to hide the belly of the bride. It is all about pretence.
Esteban is desperate to maintain appearances in service of his political ambitions as a Senator and his sense of proprietary. It just would not do for the scion of the Trueba family to marry a communist! The Count has been sponging around and is smitten by Blanca, and appears to be of the right social background. So the fix is in, and Blanca accepts her father's instruction to marry fast within her class. The omens are as disastrous as the knife in Barrabas' back at her mother Clara's engagement to Esteban. The count is a fake. But Esteban does not care, his focus is on the public perception. "He knew that the scandal would be the same whether she gave birth to a bastard child or married a peasant: society would condemn her in either case." (p246)
As with the abortion arranged by Esteban's son Jaime for his brother Nicolas and his girlfriend Amanda, the reality behind the upper class manipulation is rather ugly. Blanca is sold off like a chattel, and willingly acquiesces in her fate. The chapter starts with Blanca and Clara arriving in the city after being bashed by Esteban over the affair with Pedro Tercero.
All through, the mother Clara is the dreamy prophet, a Cassandra who sees reality but is fated to be ignored. Estaban's desire for legitimacy is the big fraud, especially considering his prima nocta
behavior of sowing bastards like flowers.
"And so it was that on Saturday Esteban Trueba arrived at the big house on the corner with a husband for his daughter and a father for the little bastard. Esteban was shooting sparks of rage. With a sweep of his hand he knocked over the pot of chrysanthemums in the entry way and slapped Nicolas, who attempted to intercede and explain things, and he announced that he did not want to see Blanca, who was to remain locked up until her wedding day. Clara did not come to greet him. She stayed in her room and did not open her door even after he broke his silver cane in two trying to break it down." (p247)