Subversive Actions and Paradoxes Displayed in "The House of the Spirits" and "Kiss of the Spiderwoman"

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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...
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