99 pages 3 hours read

Isabel Allende

The House of the Spirits

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1982

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Chapters 5-8Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 5 Summary: “The Lovers”

Content Warning: This section of the guide contains mentions of graphic violence and abortion.

In Blanca’s 14th year, her relationship with Pedro Tercero moves beyond friendship. Blanca vows to marry Pedro Tercero one day, but Pedro Tercero says nothing, knowing how impossible that would be. The two spend the summer in each other’s company, but their interactions change; they are shyer and more embarrassed around each other, and they take care to hide their friendship from the elders’ eyes.

One evening Férula appears at the Trueba house. While the family is eating dinner she bursts into the room, walks silently to Clara, kisses her on the forehead, and leaves. Clara is the only one who realizes that this is an apparition, and she tells the family that Férula is dead. Father Antonio, the local priest who has been delivering Esteban’s payments to Férula, takes Esteban and Clara to her place of residence. It is a small, dark, and dingy house in an impoverished alley; Férula is lying dead in her bed. The group finds unopened envelopes of money from Esteban, and Clara gives it all to the priest for charitable works. Esteban is furious and feels immensely guilty at how his sister was living; Clara explains that Férula chose to do so because, although she had money, “[S]he didn’t have anything else” (170).