Character Study in Manual Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman Essay

Character Study in Manual Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman Essay

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Character Study in Manual Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman


On the surface, Manual Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman is about politics and oppression. Caged literally and figuratively in an existential cell, both Molina and Valentin are wards of a police state and are therefore powerless to change their circumstances. But the novel is really about how spiritual freedom is cultivated and made manifest by Molina's retelling of his favorite movies. Because the substance of the films is first filtered through Molina's perspective, his perversion of the characters and plots reflect his own progression from an oppressed prisoner to a heroine who freely chooses the path to her own death.

That Molina identifies himself with the heroines in the films is unmistakable by the end of the novel. In the first movie he tells to Valentin, a woman who involuntarily changes into a panther whenever she kisses a man is parallel to Molina's life as a homosexual man in a society that condemns him. The panther woman's love is dangerous, and so is Molina's. His fatalistic view of his place ...

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