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Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig

analytical Essay
982 words
982 words
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systematic injustice denies us that right? What happens when the rules of the state impede on the lives of the individual? How does this trickle down and affect our innate desire for love?
Manuel Puig explores that question in his novel, “Kiss of the Spider Woman”. An examination of the life and death of two parallel characters, Molina and Irena, reveals Puig’s assertion that in order to liberate ourselves from oppression that denies us this right to love, we must first find something worth loving, worth living for. In the process of doing this, we find out a lot about ourselves, who we are, what we stand for, and the fear that the oppressors instill begins to lose its hold over our lives.
Puig demonstrates this by first painting a picture of the relationship between the oppressed and the oppressor. Oppression keeps individuals in a bind. A prison of both a mental and physical state. In the overall narrative within the novel, this is explicitly shown, with the characters Molina and Valentin being in a literal prison. Valentin, being a revolutionary, is in prison for having committed a crime against the state, against the systemic injustice imposed over an oppressed society, Molina for having committed sexually deviant crime.
Valenti and Molina’s presence in the cell reflects the power that the oppressors hold over the minority voice of people who attempt to rise against. The torture that Valenti endures throughout the novel reflects the use of fear as a tactic to keep oppressed people in their subordinate status. To further this idea, Valentin, after hearing Molina talk about how his friend Gabriel walks tall and straight, states “inside, at least as far as this culture goes, without power behind you no one walks tall” (62). Va...

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...tity, Molina when he finds someone who accepts his true identity. In both cases, they find the affirmation that was previously denied to them as a result of an oppressive society. The death here is a death of the self, the repressed self.
Affection and attachment, wanting intimacy and closeness with someone is imprinted in our very DNA. Our true natures are revealed in the existence of our desire for love. When an ill-intentioned external force denies us that desire through the use of fear however, it has the detrimental effect of keeping us locked in prisons of confusion and despair. There is hope, however, that redemption can come by finding affirmation of our individual identity. There is hope in identifying and knowing the true nature of our identities, in being okay with who we are because others are okay with who we are. We love because we were first loved.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes puig's assertion that in order to liberate ourselves from oppression that denies us this right to love, we must first find something worth loving, worth living for.
  • Analyzes puig's depiction of the relationship between oppressed and oppressor. oppression keeps individuals in a bind, with molina and valentin in literal prison.
  • Analyzes how valenti and molina's presence in the cell reflects the power that the oppressors hold over the minority voice of people who attempt to rise against.
  • Analyzes how puig weaves the story of the panther woman into the novel. irena, the main character in the micro story, is also a product of an oppressive society.
  • Analyzes how irena spirals back into the fear of being an oppressed woman after encountering a woman from her village.
  • Analyzes how puig uses irena as the panther woman to illustrate the effects of an oppressive state on our ability to love.
  • Analyzes how the curse of the panther demonstrates the power of fear that an oppressive society over individuals.
  • Analyzes how critical characters in our puzzle, molina and irena, struggle with ambiguous identities. their lack of a firm identity is the byproduct of oppression that tramples on their right to intimacy.
  • Analyzes how transformation comes when both characters receive affirmation of the purest form of their identity. the movie ends with irena letting the panther out of its cage.
  • Explains that both molina and irena die at critical points in their lives. they find the affirmation that was previously denied to them as a result of an oppressive society.
  • Explains that affection and attachment, wanting intimacy and closeness with someone, is imprinted in our dna. when an ill-intentioned external force denies us that desire through fear, it has the detrimental effect of keeping us locked in prisons of confusion and despair.
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