Kiss of the Spider Woman

by Manuel Puig

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Where are elements of suspense found in Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman?

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I think that elements of suspense in Puig's work can be found in a couple of areas.  The first would be that the characters are developed in such a poignant manner that the reader legitimately cares as to what will happen to them.  The ending in which Molina is gunned down and Valentin ends up meeting "the spider woman" is one in which suspense is evident.  After struggling with both characters throughout the narrative, an element of suspense can be seen in how they both die. We see and experience suspense with Molina being gunned down and Valentin being euthanized. The suspense is found in an ending where their hopes, dreams, and aspirations are, to some extent, validated.  It is an ending that fills the reader with hollowness, but it is one in which suspense presents itself.

Another element of suspense can be found in how the endings of both characters contradicts our original understanding and predictions.  Given how Valentin loves the revolution, it would be expected that his death would be Marxist, in nature, and more political than anything else.  At the same time, given how Molina is sentimental and loves the nostalgia of Hollywood, the expectation would be that his death is one in which there is a greater sense of drama within it.  The suspense is that their endings are opposites of one another.  It is Molina, the apolitical and "bourgeois" apologist, who dies the revolutionary's death.   It is Valentin, the revolutionary instigator, who experiences the romanticized Hollywood drama ending.  In this, one see suspense because the reader's expectations are not gratified, but rather challenged.

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