Comparison of Attitudes Towards Marriage in A Hero of Our Time versus The House of the Spirits

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Marriage, often thought of as a sacred union of the utmost importance, is portrayed in both A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, and The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, as a minor issue rather than a key part of the lives of the main characters. Marriage is unimportant to both main characters Pechorin and Clara. Lermontov uses Pechorin?s refusal of commitment, while being an object of desire and passion, to illustrate that men should keep their independence from women to protect their power. On the other hand, Allende uses Clara?s priorities of spirituality and children above her husband and marriage to suggest that women?s power does not depend on men.
Clara becomes married, recognizing that she will keep the freedom she had
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He chases after any girl his heart desires, not hesitating to seduce and manipulate them, reflecting the accepted norms of men?s behavior towards women in Russia at that time. However, once Bela shows her dependence on him, Pechorin leaves on hunts for days at a time in fear of growing attached to Bela. He ?become[s] cold,? rarely showing affection or even friendliness (Lermontov, 47). While he initially tried to gain her love, when Bela gave in Pechorin switched roles, giving her nothing but a cold shoulder and even ignoring her at times. Thus, Lermontov demonstrates the power men can hold over women and Pechorin?s lack of interest in meaningful relationships or marriage. Instead, Pechorin?s main interest is in proving his own ability to control and dominate women. Clara does not have to push Esteban into loving her, but rather is given power because of Esteban?s weakness, fulfilling Allende?s suggestion that women?s power is separate and independent from men?s. When relationships between characters begin to develop, Clara is clearly detached and uninterested in love, while Pechorin tries to win women over with his intelligence and sophistication to achieve superiority over them. When Pechorin begins flirting with Princess Mary he pretends to dislike her, even outbidding her for a Persian rug and draping his horse with it, but soon changes tactics to become witty and charming. Pechorin

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