Symbolism in Kiss of the Spiderwoman and No One Writes to the Colonel

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An Analysis of Symbolism
Kiss of the Spiderwoman
No One Writes to the Colonel

Lara Blacklock
English AI
Colegio Internacional de Caracas

“It’s a sin to take the food out of our mouths to give it to a rooster” (Garcia Marquez 31). This essay portrays the different types of symbolism throughout the novels Kiss of the Spiderwoman by Manuel Puig and No One Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The fighting cock is the dominant symbol in the former, representing both positive and negative matters; such is the case of hope in bringing some improvement to the Colonel’s living conditions while for his wife, being a reminder of their son’s death along with the repression they live in due to political corruption. In the novel Kiss of the Spider Woman, symbols such as the films, the food and most importantly, the Spider Woman, represent the characters’ peculiar relationship transitioning from a neutral one to a sexual and affectionate one. Both these novels are linked by the political corruption in their environment while the emotional atmosphere revealed by the symbols make them complementary to each other. In No One Writes to the Colonel, the linking of symbols and images represent the inner tensions of the characters throughout the novel. The main symbol, the fighting cock, is an interesting one in its ability to depict contrasting sentiments as one being. The first one is the hope the Colonel attains from it because of the value it possesses for the town. If the cock wins in the cock fights, the poverty they find themselves struggling with would have a chance to improve. This gives the cock a special treatment where ironically, it will be put first than them. “When the corn is gone we’ll have to feed him on our own livers.” (Garcia Marquez 11) Evidently, the Colonel and his wife are eating insufficiently, unable to afford more corn for the cock, let alone food for themselves. The Colonel however maintains a positive attitude towards the cock, faithful that it will in the end lead to helping their harsh conditions. Not only for him but for the people of the town too, the rooster will come to hold a great value representing collective hope for the town as a whole. We can see this when the Colonel talks to a group of young men who were his son Agustin’s friends and after his death, always helped maintain the cock healthy not only with hope, but with the belief that it will win all of the bets and as a result, win a lot of money for them. The Colonel asks about how much he owes them for repairing his clock and they assure him the cock will reward it. “Don’t worry about it, Colonel. In January, the rooster will pay for it” (Garcia Marquez 34). It seems that there is an assurance of what the symbol of the rooster signifies and is valued for in the town. This is where the main conflict comes in between him and his wife, in which the cock’s symbolism of hope will turn into one of hatred and resentment. “It’s because the situation we’re in,” she said. “It’s a sin to take the food out of our mouths to give it to a rooster” (Garcia Marquez 31). For her, the rooster will represent something quite the contrary; where rather than it symbolizing hope for an improvement to their living conditions, it will symbolize the misery they are in, especially by being the source of their son’s death. She cannot relate with neither her husband’s wish to maintain Agustin’s aspirations for the cock alive nor the town’s value and belief for it as a symbol of opposition continuing even after the death of its owner. The cock, as a legacy of Agustin, is a symbol of collective hope for the town symbolizing resistance for opposition to authority. He and his rooster were the part of the family who possessed the highest appreciation and value from the people of the town. When he is killed, the survival of the cock is what gives his parents any respect from the people. Later on, the Colonel considers selling it since his...
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