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The short story Clarisa by Isabel Allende describes the life story of a woman, Clarisa, who is said to have been born before the electricity came to the city, lived to see TV coverage of the first astronaut landing on the moon and died of astonishment when the Pope was met by homosexuals dressed like nuns when he visited the city (Allende 430). Clarisa spent a large part of her life time taking care of the less fortune people in the society. She did this by asking for help from the well-off businessmen, politicians, public figures and bakers (Allende 435). Not because she were rich herself but because she wanted to live a humble lifestyle since she believed that the only thing one could claim to be personal were the cloths on one's back. In the story, Clarisa gives birth to two abnormal children who she does not despise but takes care of like any mother would love her children. Her husband, a judge, gets discouraged at this and locks himself in a room until his death (Allende 433). As a result, Clarisa is obligated to take care of the family and does all kind of work including barking wedding cakes in order to make some money. She later gives birth to two other boys who delight her with the hope that they will take care of their disabled brother and sister.
Throughout the story, Clarisa is pictured like a saint; harmless to no one, not even a microscopic organism. She counsels those she comes across and encourages her fellow believers. She neither looses her faith in God despite the fact that misfortunes befall her one after the other. Her harmless attitude is further illustrated when she offers a robber all what she has simple because he does not want him to commit a sin that would lead him to hell (Magill and May 2992). As a result, she gains respect from the whole society and no one can ever suspect that a humble person like her can commit a sin. But they were all wrong. Clarisa confesses her sin to the narrator, Eva Luna that she once had an intimate affair with the then congress don Diego which resulted into the two strong boys. This she kept to herself until the time when she was about to die and justifies herself that it was one way of helping God to balance the scales of destiny. She tells Eva Luna that "That wasn't a sin, child, just a little boost to help God balance the scales of destiny.........." (Allende 141).
The point of argument here is that having an affair outside marriage is wrong. The society has refuted this since it is considered immoral and unethical according to the customs. So when we find that the saint of this society is the greatest sinner, this not only discourages the fellow believers and friends but also makes them doubt the faith of this fellow. From what she explains in the story, Clarisa may sound to have a good reason to commit the sin since she claims that her having an affair with the congressman got her two healthy and strong children, it shows that she was a woman of little faith (Allende 141). If she really believes in divinity as she always claimed, then she would not have any doubt in trusting that the same God can still give her normal children with the same husband. She is perfect in every other area but the fact that she cheats on her husband is the greatest sin that can directly land her to hell.
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When she is told by the midwife that there is no hope for her to give birth to a normal child, she boldly explains to her that it is God's work to maintain a certain degree of equilibrium in the cosmos, thus when other things are created twisted, others are created straight (Allende 436). However, she knows well in her heart that the baby she is carrying was not conceived through God's will. During her last days on her dying bed, she promises her friends that she will intercede for them so that they do not end up in hell (Magill and May 2992). In really sense, she herself needs these prayers more than anyone else because she has committed adultery, the greatest sin that can even lead to divorce. Therefore her justification that she is not a sinner is in vain because she was living a double life.
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