Kiss of the Spider Woman: Chapter Notes - Chapter 6
· Valentin has no got the “terrible stabbing pains” Molina previously had.
· Molina cares and is worried for Valentin, so decides to tell a story he thinks Valentin will enjoy.
· The film is about a boy pushed into car racing by his dad, because he doesn’t approve of the boy getting involved in a left wing political group. The boy feels sometimes guilty for having left his mother after their parents divorce. The father is kidnapped by guerrillas, then eventually killed and the boy ends up with his mother.
· We learn more about Valentin’s family, thus how his parents were separated and some detail about his mother.
· The end of the chapter is Valentin’s dream describing a woman, a fellow, a mother, a father, a girl, a classmate and then again a girl.
Themes and Motifs:
Trust and Caring between the characters
· Since Valentin is not feeling well and feels as if “nails (are) hammered right into (his) stomach”, so Molina shows he cares for him by narrating a film; “that’s why I picked it… for you, since you don’t feel so well.”
· “I trust you. You trust me, right?” reflects on how the characters have established a trustful relationship. Valentin starts to open up to Molina by “letting (him) in on something real” and continues by conveying to him about his girlfriend and the woman he loves.
Confusion and uncertainty of the reader and the characters themselves
· Valentin has a dream, which is a mixture of the story Molina told him earlier and his own personal thoughts for instance “a woman with knowledge of Marxism.” This section in the chapter is confusing, as at the start of the dream the reader isn’t quite sure if they are just thoughts and who is thinking them. However it then becomes clear it is Valentin thinking them because of the constant references to “international politics”.
· Furthermore, as it is a dream Valentin himself isn’t completely conscious about what he is thinking, therefore making the reader even more uncertain as to if these descriptions are what the character depicts as a perfect woman, fellow, mother father and girl, or if it is just his mixed feelings, thoughts and passed experience all combined.
Power and superiority
· The power each character has over the other one seems to oscillate throughout the chapter (and the book). Molina seems to be in control, because he is the one telling the stories to Valentin, thus leading the discussion. Alternatively, Valentin has greater power, even though he doesn’t talk so much, when he does say something Molina usually listens and takes his orders; “do as I tell you…”
· Molina seems to relate to the woman characters in the stories he tells and describes them with extreme detail. “Not too tall, some French actress, really stacked, but at the same time very slender, with a tiny waist, wearing a very fitted evening dress, really low-cut, and strapless, (…)”
Constructed nature of stories and realities
· The story Molina is narrating is not completely in parallel with their present reality, however there are some aspects that are the same. For instance, the left wing boy in the film, has the same political views as Valentin as the boy’s dad is against his political activity, possibly reflecting on how Valentin’s mother “never like (his) ideas”.
· The fact that Molina is telling the story and he “can’t even remember where (he) was at” shows the reader that his source isn’t completely reliable. However the this unreliability doesn’t seem so critical when describing the films, as the detail and attention possibly added to the woman characters’ clothes and hairstyles helps him escape and forget about the awful conditions he is presently living in.
· Molina is the character who recounts previous films he has seen in the past as tool to escape the harsh reality he is living in. Throughout the chapter, Molina clearly states he is not a man by stating, “it’s not one of those films men usually go for” and the questioning of “how do men always remember all about auto races?” thus meaning he is excluding himself from the category of “men”.
· Puig reinforces Molina’s homosexuality to show that it should be accepted in society, but mainly to bring the reader’s attention to it.
· The reader finds out why Valentin refuses to go to the infirmary, as it is because one of his “comrades, they got him hooked on it, and that softened him up and completely broke his willpower.” This reflects on his strong political views and his seriousness about the situation, as he took an “oath” like the rest of the “movement”.
· “A political prisoner can’t afford to end up in an infirmary, ever, you understand?” (p113) “ ‘Don’t start to study’ – ‘But I wasted all morning by sleeping’ ” These two quotations show how Valentin is committed to his studies and feels very strongly about his personal political views.
· By the 6th chapter, the reader is sure that the two main characters are set in a prison, because of the features that surround them, such as an “infirmary”, a “bathroom” and “guards”.
the story told by Molina explores a new setting, consisting mainly of the auto
racetrack in the south of France (LeMans) and Monte
Narrative Style / Structure:
· The start of Chapter 6 begins with a dialogue between Molina and Valentin, discussing why Valentin should, but doesn’t want to go to the infirmary. Valentin then opens up and explains a bit more about his strong political views, therefore little by little informing the reader more about himself and his own personal history. Molina then recounts a film mostly evolved around political science, demonstrating his care for Valentin as he is in such pain. Throughout this chapter, Puig clearly shows the close relationship built between both characters through their actions to help one another.
· Moreover, the reader finds out more facts about Valentin’s life, concerning his political views but mostly his mother and the woman he loves. However, the fact that those ideas weren’t developed in much detail still makes the reader question about both of the characters’ history.