99 pages 3 hours read

Isabel Allende

The House of the Spirits

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1982

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Chapters 9-12Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 9 Summary: “Little Alba”

Content Warning: This section of the guide contains references to the sexual abuse of a minor.

Blanca makes it home just in time for Alba’s birth. Clara predicts a lucky and happy horoscope for her granddaughter. Alba receives the count’s surname, but he is never heard from again. Amanda and Miguel leave the house when Alba is two weeks old, and the family loses contact with Amanda. Alba’s presence softens Esteban, but it is not enough to repair his relationship with Blanca.

Alba is a small and innocuous child, unlike the other “splendid” women in the family except for having inherited her great-aunt Rosa’s greenish hair. She has an eclectic upbringing with a mixture of input from her grandmother, mother, and two uncles. Clara teaches Alba basic literacy skills, and Alba begins to read all manner of books. Alba is closest to Jaime and is the only one allowed into his room with its tunnel of books, where she accesses all the reading material she desires. Nicolás “ephemeral” nature makes Alba a little uneasy, but she is fond of him too; among other things, he teaches her to withstand pain by visualizing the things she fears the most and remaining stoic.

Clara remains the largest influence in Alba’s life, and the girl accompanies her everywhere, from spirituality meetings to literary soirées.