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Delve Online: Memory and Ancestors: Paula by Isabel Allende

Tuesdays, April 28 and May 5th
from 6:30–8:30 p.m. Pacific time
online via Zoom
Guide: Hannah Kim
 This two week Delve meets via Zoom teleconferencing, Participants who register will receive information on how to log onto the Zoom meeting.

“So it is with my life, a multilayered and ever-changing fresco that only I can decipher, whose secret is mine alone. The mind selects, enhances, and betrays; happenings fade from memory; people forget one another and, in the end, all that remains is the journey of the soul, those rare moments of spiritual revelation. What actually happened isn’t what matters, only the resulting scars and distinguishing marks. My past has little meaning; I can see no order to it, no clarity, purpose, or path, only a blind journey guided by instinct and detours caused by events beyond my control. There was no deliberation on my part, only good intentions and the faint sense of a greater design determining my steps.”
Isabel Allende, Paula

Allende wrote this memoir for her daughter Paula when she became gravely ill and fell into a coma. In typical Allende fashion, it is a work that accepts the magical and spiritual worlds, and is vibrant with strange lands, bizarre ancestors and rich memories.

Paula by Isabelle Allende

Discussion Questions

  1. What role do dreams play in this text?
  2. What did you think of the narrative structure jumping between time, going from her past to the present, where Paula is in the hospital? Which parts did you find most engaging?
  3. Was this different from how you expected a memoir to be? If so, why?
  4. Allende writes, “no one can live without memories”. What do you think she means by this? How is this assertion supported in her writing?
Reading Schedule 
April 28, Week One:  Part One
May 5, Week Two:  Part Two


Hannah Kim

Hannah Kim is a writer, storyteller, and improv comedian. She is interested in radical intersectional feminism and how it relates to anti-capitalism and reclamation of the divine feminine. She is also passionate about increasing representation and visibility in the media and art spaces.
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