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Kiss of the spiderwoman. Manuel Puig Presented by Lindsey Colton & Christina Geissman. Historical context. Machismo

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Kiss of the spiderwoman
Kiss of the spiderwoman

Manuel Puig

Presented by Lindsey Colton & Christina Geissman

Historical context
Historical context

  • Machismo

  • Political/Social unrest as seen through several elections held in Argentina—politicians such as President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (who signed the Argentinian same-sex marriage bill in July 2010) have had to battle against strong opposition by the Roman-Catholic Church, as Argentina is dominantly Catholic

  • While same sex cohabitation has now been legalized, it is still largely frowned upon by society. However, Argentina is slowly progressing forward as times become more accepting

  • Interestingly, Argentina was the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, the second in both Americas, and the tenth in the world to do so.

Literary technique
Literary technique

  • Significance of development strictly through dialogue and no central narrator

  • Importance of dreams—what do they represent? Do you think the dreams are projections of the characters, statements about society, both…?

  • Exposure of the characters through film and their reactions to the films.


  • Masculinity vs. Femininity

  • Jungle/Nativism vs. Developed Society

  • Acceptance: both individually and from others

  • Escapism: creation of one’s own sub-reality as a means of release of stress from actuality

    • Could this be problematic or helpful?

    • Do you think distinction between reality vs. fictional reality is necessary? Oftentimes, Molina says he is happy and that is all that matters. He wishes he could just sleep without waking up. What did you make of this?

    • Constant tension between self and societal/legal expectations: illustrated literally by Molina’s duty as a ‘spy’ assigned to trying to extract information from Valentin. Symbolically, being homosexual is also a constant struggle, especially in Argentina (especially while being in prison) during the 1970s.

More themes
More themes

  • Sensory Importance: throughout their dialogue, both Molina and Valentin use extensive sensory description and symbolism to communicate (i.e. Molina’s thorough visual descriptions while telling the films, Valentin and Molina’s physical malaise while sick, etc.) Also their aesthetic focus—Molina always takes great care to describe the physical world and Valentin is an architect. When Molina feels very depressed, he describes himself as a blind, deaf zombie.

  • Question of existence of Divine power vs. Atheism (pg. 179)

  • Physical Comfort: wet vs. dry, cold vs. warm, light vs. dark

  • Emotion vs. Logic, or interpersonal relationships vs. isolation through individuality

  • Becoming the other: Valentin and Molina ‘switching’ perspectives, Molina is a spy for both sides—and ultimately, by their deaths.

Important passages
Important passages

  • Page 175-177

  • Page 179

  • Page 190

  • Page 193

  • Page 201

  • Page 202

  • Page 233

  • Page 240

  • Page 259

  • Page 280