Daughter of Fortune
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- Love motivates Eliza to leave Chile for California, beginning her daring journey. In what other ways does love, in its various forms, propel the story?
- How does Allende's imagining of the California Gold Rush differ from what you may have learned in school?
- Eliza is half-English and half-Chilean--a fact she herself never knows. How does her mixed heritage and mysterious parentage unconsciously influence her actions?
- Discuss the various meanings of the word "fortune" in the novel.
- How might Eliza's experience of the Gold Rush been different if she really had been a boy?
- Do you think the fact that Eliza masquerades as a boy alters her relationship with Tao Ch'ien?
- What role do secrets play in the novel?
- Rose Sommers is a study in contrasts: a proper Victorian spinster who secretly writes erotica, the guardian of Eliza's honor who once conducted her own torrid love affair. Is she merely a hypocrite or does she tells us something about the reality of women's lives during the 19th Century?
- In contemporary terms, Eliza reinvents herself more than once. What might her life have been like if she'd stayed in Chile?
- Contrast Eliza's fate with that of the Chinese prostitutes-also immigrant women of her own age. Is Eliza just lucky or is she responsible for her own destiny?
- How does Eliza's journey transform her?
- Isabel Allende, who was raised in Chile, is regarded as on of Latin America's most representative writers. Do the sections of the book set in Chile have a different tone from those set in California, or does the author seem equally comfortable in both worlds?