Kiss of the Spider Woman: Motif Tracking – Revolutions




















Quotations & Explanations:






“I put up with all of it…because there’s a purpose behind it. Social revolution, that’s what’s important, and gratifying the senses is only secondary. While the struggle goes on, and it’ll probably go on for the rest of my life…”

This demonstrates how he’s all dedicated to the political action and is willing to form some kind of revolution to challenge society with the social rules, communism etc. This is what makes him an outsider because his views and values are not accepted, and that is why he is undergoing this political struggle.


“My ideals…Marxism, if you want me to spell it out in only one word. And I can get that pleasure anywhere, right here in this cell, and even in torture. And that’s my real strength.”

This emphasizes the previous point made; to challenge the idea of communism to the society. Additionally, it points out that this is where his true strength lies thus establishing his identity as a ‘fighter’.


“I don’t believe in that business of living for the moment, Molina… There’s no way I can live for the moment because my life is dedicated to political struggle…”

This shows how his strong devotion as a political activist goes against Molina’s light perception of ‘living for the moment’. As an individual struggling in society where socialism is not accepted, he cannot remain still because he feels the need to be involved in the movement of fighting for his own rights and values.


“It’s all in code, could you tell? When she says ‘growing old’, that means becoming part of the movement. And when she says ‘life and its trials’, that’s fighting for the cause…”

This quote brings awareness that a real revolutionary scheme/action is actually being secretly conducted by the activist group that Valentin belongs to, and the political officials have managed to remain oblivious to this. That is why they conducted this plan on abducting this information from Valentin, by means of Molina, which turned out unsuccessful in the end. The idea of two ‘planned actions’ running parallel with each other emphasizes that a revolution is determined to happen.


“We commit ourselves, as comrades, to avoid intense relationships of that kind because they can only be a hindrance when it comes time to act.”

This, again, emphasizes his dedication to the political act, demonstrating the toughness and manliness he incorporates in himself, and how it conceals the soft, sensitive side of him (which actually reflects his true self), which is eventually revealed later. Ultimately his dedication is a drive that sets forward the anticipation of a revolution.


“And what’s so bad about being a woman? Why is it men or whoever, some poor bastard, some queen, can’t be sensitive, too, if he’s got a mind to?”

Molina represents himself to challenge the stereotypes of masculine and feminine roles, conveying to society that in reality, perception towards gender roles is just as common as what we would expect, therefore the abnormality in gender behavior that Molina displays is viewed as unconventional and perhaps immoral, but this is seen as a normal and acceptable practice in the society that Molina belongs to. This can be acceptable in society as a whole if society is willing to acknowledge the nature of it. Perhaps Puig is attempting to ‘revolt’ against society’s perception. 


“And since a woman’s the best there is, I want to be one.”

This quote illustrates the idea of how Molina desires to possess women traits. Reinforcing the previous points made, he represents himself as the icon of ‘nonconformity’ which goes against society’s acceptance. This conflict is the revolution itself.



These pauses indicate Valentin’s subtle sexual approaches towards Molina. This part of the scene is not conveyed explicitly to allow readers to fill in the gap with their imagination, and fundamentally, what is to be depicted here is the idea that Valentin is revolting against himself as he makes the sexual moves towards Molina and eventually agrees on having an intercourse in order to manipulatively convince Molina to carry out his deeds. The kiss, as well, demonstrates this idea.


“If it weren’t for the fact that it must hurt a hell of a lot, I’d tell you to do it to me, to demonstrate that this business of being a man, it doesn’t give any special rights to anyone.”

Valentin expresses the socialist view of gender equality, reinforcing the determination to revolt with regards to that idea. ‘I’d tell you to do it to me’ also implies that he is almost sacrificing himself to Molina, for reasons mentioned in the previous point above.


Arregui is like a tomb, sir, and suspicious of everything…I don’t know, he’s impossible, he’s not… he’s not human.”

This quote illustrates how Molina is taking on the heroic role by defending Valentin as he refuses to give the warden any information at all. This suggests the foreshadowing of a revolution that Molina sets upon himself; that he is putting himself in a dangerous position that he never imagined himself to be in.


“…it should be stressed that the tone of the conversations was continually bantering and the conversations themselves extremely disordered. Nevertheless, the matter will be watched further.”

The political officials are shown to be suspicious of Molina’s actions that they had to take on watchful vigil. This marks the impression that Molina has already embarked upon carrying out Valentin’s plans, engaging himself after fully revolting against his own nature. The heroic role is then reinforced, determining a pivotal, changing moment where he surrenders most of his life.



Key Moment:

As there are most definitely two types of revolution present throughout the novel, there are two key moments, one for each of the two types of revolution. There is of course, the political revolution, and I think a key moment for this part of the motif occurs towards the end of chapter 15. Molina is making a huge effort to do things secretly (albeit failing miserably) and to meet the group in secret. This highlights the political tension in Argentina at the time, and serves to highlight how the revolutionaries were radically different from the government in power. When the officers move in to arrest Molina, they are fired upon from a passing car containing armed revolutionaries. Molina is killed and one of the officers is severely wounded. This shows how tense the situation was in Argentina and also shows that the revolution was important enough to kill (or die) for.


The second form of revolution which is dominant in the text is sexual revolution. A key moment for this part of the motif is the first time that Valentin and Molina have sex, at the end of Chapter 11. The fact that a stereotypical macho man who is undoubtedly straight can have gay sex with a gay man is a massive sexual revolution, especially in periodic Argentina where such behaviour was strongly frowned upon.