Kiss of the Spider Woman: Motif Tracking – Clashing Perspectives






















·         The “clashing” of perspectives implies a disagreement. For example, Molina’s view that women should be scared around men as that is what gives the “kick”, but Valentin disagrees and says that women should not have to be scared of men, as they should be equal.

·         Often the clashing perspectives contradict each other, such as during Valentin’s hallucination, when we are unsure about Marta. If one of our perspectives is true, the other cannot be true.

·         There are many different perspectives which clash, such as logical and emotional. This clash in particular applies to what Valentin and Molina each get out of Molina’s films, as Molina sees them romantically, whereas Valentin sees the logic in them, and this is what appeals to him.

·         Masculine and feminine perspectives clash as Molina tries to take the stereotypically feminine approach, as he wants to be a woman, but Valentin rejects this, as he believes men and women should be of equal standing.

·         Roles/identities are especially relevant during Valentin’s hallucination, as Marta’s true identity could be seen as one of many: Marta, Molina or a prison interrogator.

·         While points of view are alternate due to hetero and homosexuality, it is not as significant or obvious, because while Molina may be viewed as homosexual, he believes that he is really a woman.



Quotations & Explanations:






“- Come on, admit it, you like him because he smokes a pipe.

-          No, because he’s the gentle type, and understanding.

-          His mother castrated him, plain and simple ”

Obvious dialogue between Valentin and Molina that shows two different interpretations of what women look for in a man. [The architect in the movie Panther Woman.]


“-You? It wouldn’t matter to you…

- What do you mean it wouldn’t?! Come on, what a thing to say… ”

The ultimate truth hidden beneath Valentin’s exclamations is that he really wouldn’t care that much if Molina died. Though he says he would, and Molina believes him, in the end Molina didn’t touch his heart and doesn’t affect him at all compared to Marta whom he goes crazy in prison for.


“- Let’s not talk about it anymore, because this conversation isn’t getting anywhere.

-To me it is, I want to talk more about it.”

The different views about sexuality and equality for both genders differ for both characters. Valentin is more comfortable and open when talking about the issues surrounding woman and men’s rights and their sex. Molina is uncomfortable as Valentin tries to break his ‘dream’ or ‘thought’ about how woman and men should act and behave, stereotypically.


“- But why? It’s a piece of Nazi junk, or don’t you realize?

- …if I do like it, well, that’s be-… because it’s well made, and besides it’s a work of art, you don’t under-…understand because you never even saw it.”

The two characters contrasts in personality and perspectives are evident. Valentin sees the political perspective of the story, whist Molina only has eyes for the arts and romanticism of it. Both extract different things to fulfill their different desires through the same story being told/heard.

61 + 63

“-…a man is just that, to be marvelous looking, and strong, but without making any fuss about it, and also walking very tall. Walking absolutely straight like my waiter, who’s not afraid to say anything.

-          That’s pure fantasy. That type doesn’t exist….

[Valentin’s idea of a man]…not taking any crap from anyone… it has to do with not humiliating someone else with an order or a tip…not letting the person next to you feels degraded.”

This argument about the perfect/ideal man between Valentin and Molina shows how they also view the sexuality issues between genders. Molina is more of the stereotypical believer who accepts that man should be dominant looking (walking very tall, strong, etc) but also actually be dominant as well. Valentin on the other hand believes that men should ACT bold with honour rather than just looking strong and cool. Valentin concentrates more upon the strong and tolerant characteristics, which differs from Molina’s stereotypical views of men due to his belief of being a woman at heart.



“- And by the way, art’s not just something for women

- One of these days, they’ll realize who’s the fag around here.”

Valentin disagrees about the subject of art being only for women to learn aboutà going against conventional thoughts of subjects that Molina believes in as he replies back with the fag comment.



“- Because I’m locked up in this cell and I’m better off thinking about nice things, so I don’t go nuts…That you’ll let me escape from reality once in a while, because why would I let myself get more depressed than I already am?

- …but you can drive yourself crazy here…by alienating yourself that way you do…it can be dangerous too.”

Molina argues that letting him escape from the reality of prison and life, it makes time go faster and life feel much better than it really it and stops him from going nuts. Valentin rejects this idea and says that it could also be another form of driving yourself crazy and it alienates you FROM reality too often causing you to crave the dream that you have made up and being more depressed than you really are in the situation you’re in.



The rice scene

Both of the prisoners see the different proportionality of rice as diverse meanings. Molina knows that the rice is drugged and the guard gives it different proportions to let Molina avoid it. Valnetin possibly sees the proportionality problem as an insult/mistreatment towards Molina due to him being homosexual.



“- It’s one of those films men usually go for, that’s why I picked it…for you, since you don’t feel so well”

This is the only film that Molina chooses to tell Valentin that doesn’t directly have romanticism in it. Molina’s purpose here is to please and help Valentin through his pain by telling a story that he likes rather than what Molina wants.



“-If you were like them you wouldn’t be in here

-…she has class…that’s right, class, just like all the class-conscious pigs would say…in their son-of-a-bitching world.”

This shows the hypocrisy of Valentin as he goes against his ‘belief’ and ‘cause’ by falling for a girl whom has ‘class’. His supposed beliefs clash with his hearts desires of Marta.



“- They’re releasing me on parole

-But that’s wonderful…

- I don’t know

-But it isn’t possible…It’s the nicest thing that could happen for you!”

“Molina, you’re going to do something fabulous for me, and I assure you, you won’t run the slightest risk in doing it ”


The dialogue here emphasizes the different reactions to the news of parole. Molina is sadden by the thought of leaving Valentin after having a magical life in prison with him whilst Valentin only sees the reasonable and opportunity of sending messages to his comrades to help his political rebellion.


“- I just mean that you don’t have to make up for it with anything, with favors, or excuses. You don’t have to… submit

- But if a man is…my husband, he has to give the orders, so he will feel right. That’s the natural thing, because that makes him the…the man of the house”

This dialogue shows the distinct contrasts between their beliefs in women’s role in households and society. Molina believe that woman should be the submissive partner, who is perfect and follows order from the man. Valentin believes that woman don’t always have to be submissive and give in to men’s orders and have the right to stand up and be equal to them.



“-Things could change for you once you’re outside.

-No, they’ll never change…”

Shows the two views of the contrasting perspective of society in Argentina. Molina knows that the society around her treats her with no respect or attention. Valentin disagrees and believes that everyone is equal and has their own equal rights.



““Don’t be afraid, I’m listening, but only on one condition, Valentin” what’s that? “That you don’t hide anything of what you’re thinking, because the moment you do that, even though I want to listen to you I won’t be able to anymore,” and no one can over hear us? ”…”

This quotation emphasizes the uncertainty of this Marta character that Valentin is supposedly talking to. We are given two interpretations of this situation as we are uncertain about whether Valentin is being drugged and imagining Marta, whom could actually be an interrogator or if it’s his hallucination.



** Note. The footnotes from various professors that specialize in homosexuality and psychology mostly agree with one another that homosexuality is due to some dysfunction within the human development as a child [researchers that support this view range from D.J West, Doctor Sawyer, C.S Lewis, etc]. Though these theories are discredited and rejected by Anna Freud who suggests that homosexuality is normal, but it is a different way of life that is shunned by society’s beliefs.**



Key Moment:

The motif of clashing and alternate perspectives is relevant throughout the whole of “Kiss of the Spider Woman”, especially between Valentin and Molina. This is because they are present throughout the whole novel, and have such contrasting characteristics. Valentin, the “macho” political revolutionary; and Molina, the effeminate homosexual. Therefore they are always going to have opposing views, ranging from Molina’s films, to the position of women.  It is possibly most prominent in their views of Molina’s films, as Molina sees them romantically and artistically, whereas Valentin tends to see them logically. Again on their views of sexuality, Molina thinks that women should act stereotypically, possibly because he wants to be a woman and he thinks that that is how women should act. However, Valentin believes in equality, particularly as he is mainly a Communist.


There are also clashing or alternate perspectives when the reader is in an uncertain situation, such as Valentin’s hallucination in the final chapter, or concerning Molina and whether he is trying to protect Valentin or extract information from him. This is because the it is not made clear to the reader exactly what is happening, so it is up to them to decide, but because there is not only one point of view, they must consider the many alternate perspectives.