How does the storytelling of Cat People show themes of sexual repression in Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Molina's retelling of Cat People is significant for a couple of reasons.  The premise of a woman appearing one way during the day and then transforming at night, away from the eyes of others, is significant to how the transformation in the relationship between Molina and Valentin develops.  In the light of day, both of them represent opposite ends, and Valentin in particular would not embrace anything in terms of ignition of a spark between them.  Yet, in the isolated and dark walls of prison, a relationship emerges between them, transformation is evident.  It is in this where the plot of the film has significance. 

At the same time, it brings up the idea that there are multiple sides to what it means to be a human being.  The protagonist in Molina's film appears one way during the day and in another form at night.  The changing of human beings to reflect another aspect of their own identity is something of importance to the drama.  The notion of sexual repression is something that we see at the start of the drama, but as time passes and as the men become closer to one another, a new element to their own identity is revealed. 

It is here where the narration of the Hollywood film is connected to sexual repression, reflecting how social conventions and prejudices can be put aside and how true understanding can emerge if individuals are able to embrace the idea that they are more than singular and monistic elements.

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Kiss of the Spider Woman

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