Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
*Argentina. South American country in which the prison cell holding Valentin and Molina is located. Argentina is a poor country swarming with crime and revolutionaries (like Valentin) who are trying to make the country a better place for all. Near the end of the novel, Molina and Valentin feel safer in the prison than in the outside world.
Tropical island. Valentin dreams of this unnamed island at the end of the novel. The island is an amalgam of the various film scenes that Molina has described. A woman appears to him in this dream, weaving webs out of her own body. This woman represents Molina and his storytelling abilities. His attraction toward this figure is emblematic of Molina and Valentin’s romantic feelings toward each other.
*France. Two films that Molina recalls take place in France. The first film, the apparently fictional Her Real Glory, is set in Paris in 1942. In the romantic setting of Paris, the two lovers of the film parallel Molina and Valentin. They too are opposites fighting against a common enemy—the Argentine prison system. Even though it is wartime, the scenes Molina describes are romanticized. The cabaret where Leni works, the German officer’s apartment, the final scene of the film in the German Pantheon—all are larger than life. The other film, about a race car driver, is more brutal, and Molina tells it...
(The entire section is 476 words.)
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Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Boccia, Michael. “Versions (Con-, In-, and Per-) in Manuel Puig’s and Hector Babenco’s Kiss of the Spider Woman, Novel and Film.” Modern Fiction Studies 32, no. 3 (1986): 417-426. Discusses Puig’s fascination with film and the history of the novel’s development as it went from book to screen. Notes how the plot turns on an inversion of the relationship of the two men.
Echavarrén, Roberto. “Manuel Puig: Beyond Identity.” World Literature Today 65, no. 4 (1991): 581-585. Discusses the novel as Puig’s most radical effort at gay liberation. Surrounded by other fascinating articles celebrating the author’s...
(The entire section is 259 words.)