Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig Essay

Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig Essay

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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.

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