It is, at times, stated that paradoxes allow for misinterpretation in almost every aspect of life. Wherever those paradoxes appear, conflicts, both external and internal, arise and misunderstandings ensue. In the two novels The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and Kiss of the Spiderwoman by Manuel Puig, however, the characters Alba and Molina, respectively, create paradoxes through their subversive actions. These paradoxes create conflicts in self-interest, which, in turn, reveal the impossibility of actually knowing or understanding one’s true motives.
In Allende’s The House of the Spirits, the character Alba displays subversive tendencies around her progression into adulthood. For example, Alba joins the revolution at age 18, mostly because “she wanted to talk about love” with Miguel. She also wants to assist the revolution because she believes that some of the practices that exist are unfair. However, Alba still wants her grandfather, Esteban, to have some sort of power within the government. The paradox within this scenario lies in the fact that Alba wants to belong to the proletariat cause, yet still wants a family member, who is a conservative, to hold his position, even though Esteban stands for everything that Alba and Miguel are fighting against. Alba also fails to correctly comprehend her motives because it seems, at times in the novel, that Alba aids the revolution “out of love” for Miguel and not because she truly wants to assist the cause.
Another example of paradox through subversive actions exists as Alba helps the revolution when she “sat in at the university along with the students who had seized a building in support of a strike by workers”, then, soon after, steals guerilla weaponry from her grandfather, hiding it with assistance from her Uncle Jaime. Because Alba participates in a relatively peaceful protest, and then commits grand larceny, this instance shows that she teeters between two opposing sides of the battle: the pacifist approach and the more aggressive component. Also, since Alba truly does not show which side she prefers over the other, it remains difficult to comprehend if she would rather fight alongside Miguel and the other revolutionaries, or support them in a more conscientious objector type of way.
Lastly, Alba intentionally disobeys orders and risks...
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...rom Valentin, the fact that Molina dies in this manner completely contradicts his intentions, at least his discussed ones.
The characters Alba and Molina are portrayed in two different ways. For example, Alba is the awestruck youngster thrown into an unfortunate predicament because of love, while Molina is the flamboyant homosexual prisoner that enjoys retelling movies, embellishing them in order to satisfy his desire to heroics. However, both of these characters are connected by the aforementioned paradoxes and juxtapositions that both characters deal with in their lives. These characters are also connected by their internal conflicts that arise from those paradoxes. Is it possible that Puig and Allende created these characters to give a view of how they felt about the normality of humanity and how paradoxes exist in all and most conflicts arise from these paradoxes? Is it possible that Puig and Allende wanted to display the improbability of comprehension of drive? According to the evidence exhibited by the authors through these characters, it is certain.
1) Allende, Isabel, "The House of the Spirits"
2) Puig, Manuel, "Kiss of the Spiderwoman"
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