Themes and Motifs in the Kiss of the Spiderwoman

Topics: One Thousand and One Nights, Woman, Embroidery Pages: 3 (777 words) Published: January 26, 2009
Manuel Puig uses many recurring themes and motifs to convey his views and opinions on many highly political, and also controversial, matters, from his attitude towards Marxism, and his belief that people should be free to express themselves as well as being tolerant of others’ views, to his homosexuality being reflected in one of the two main characters.

Themes:

Tolerating each other’s and other people’s views:
Molina and Valentin obviously have contrasting views on sexuality and politics, but come to tolerate each other. Puig writes the book from the point of view of the two men in order to portray these views, and their acceptance of them, choosing this method of writing over a more objective and less observant – at least of the characters’ changing opinions – master narrative. This enables him to have a relative view of the situation – from many varying points of view – rather than an absolute, one-sided opinion.

Gender identification:
Molina refers to himself as a woman, making comments to Valentin such as “I can’t talk about myself like a man, because I don’t feel like one”, thus distinguishing himself from “men”, and Valentin, who is, therefore, by far the more masculine of the two. There are no women present, but, through Molina’s stories, both men’s reactions to women are seen; Molina’s as one of praise and identification, and Valentin’s as one of difference and, perhaps, intimidation. It is perhaps thought that Puig felt

Motifs:

Embroidery:
Although most likely a motif, the constant recurrence of embroidery may also verge on being a theme, as it is both the men mention embroidery, both in the literal (and thus as a motif), and the metaphorical (the theme) sense; embroidering their stories. Valentin asks how “If you embroider, why can’t I too?” when talking to Molina, showing both their apparent tendencies to do so. The title, “The Kiss of The Spider Woman” refers to Arachne and Penelope, and the story itself even resembles...
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