With its experimental construction; eclectic intertextual incorporation of different media; and predominance of widespread varieties over features of upper tradition, Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Girl definitely lends itself to a postmodernist interpretation.
Kiss of the Spider Girl is Puig’s fourth novel, revealed in 1976, a time when postmodernist theories have been first being promulgated. The concepts of the Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin have been additionally being translated into English round this time. Bakhtin conceived of the time period ‘dialogism’, the notion that the majority literary texts have been comprised of a hierarchy of disparate voices, and that these voices have been in flip influenced by different previous texts. He believed this idea to be of explicit relevance to the novel as a style.
Puig’s novel is a melange of disparate voices: a patchwork of numerous discourses drawn from movies, widespread track, drama, scholarly works and desires. Puig’s use of footnotes outdoors his narrative textual content can be a major voice in Kiss of the Spider Girl. Many of the footnotes are theories involved with the event of homosexuality, they’re erudite in tone, and bear an apparent relation to the character of Molina; as Valentin discloses to his cellmate “I do know little or no about individuals along with your kind of inclination” (p.59).
One hanging attribute that closely influences Kiss of the Spider Girl’s postmodernist character nevertheless, in addition to pertaining to Bakhtin’s theories, is the entire absence of a single authoritative narrative voice – even novels which may be thought-about dialogic nonetheless characteristic some form of narrator. This structural resolution displays Puig’s personal attitudes to class in his reluctance to be positioned ready of authority (or ‘author-ity’), to develop into a member of an elite. In Kiss of the Spider Girl, no explicit voice is allowed to override one other, not even the footnotes, or so it might sound, as it is very important acknowledge that Puig’s association of his textual content, the juxtaposition of sure voices on the web page, nonetheless workouts a small affect over which voice the reader may subscribe to.
Illustration is inevitably related to the narrative units and stylistic strategies a author could undertake to painting a sure topic. In Kiss of the Spider Girl, femininity is portrayed in quite a lot of options however most notably within the character of Molina. The movies which Molina pertains to Valentin comprise a good portion of Puig’s narrative. Even the title of the guide, which is harking back to a Hollywood B film, refers partially to Molina, who, via the usage of imagery and metaphor, is sort of like a spider in the best way that he seems to weave tales. Molina states that he can’t regard himself as aside from a girl, and he all the time identifies with the heroines of his movies. In Cat Individuals, the primary movie Molina relates, the heroine Irena is glamorous, remoted, and harbours a sexual secret, each her and Molina being characters which are outdoors the foundations and rules of a patriarchal society that enforces strict codes of sexual behaviour.
Firstly of the narrative, the character of Valentin seems to be representing sure notions of masculinity, expressed via his devotion to political causes and his preliminary disdain for Molina’s love of widespread tradition. Valentin is proven to be finding out though the reader learns little of the books he’s truly studying, in distinction to Molina’s detailed accounts of his favorite movies. A consideration of style gives some perception into the character of masculinity within the novel, as Kiss of the Spider Girl options two ill-matched male characters, much like quite a few US movies corresponding to The Odd Couple, and in literature there are a number of precursors, corresponding to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza or Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. The determine of Scheherezade from the Thousand and One Nights can be important to an appreciation of Molina, in the best way that Valentin’s cellmate seems to be relating tales as a method of suspending his imagined execution. Nonetheless, it’s the figures of Arachne and Ariadne that are maybe most pertinent to an understanding of Molina’s central position within the guide, in that Valentin’s cellmate might both betray or help him.
To make use of a Bakhtinian time period, Kiss of the Spider Girl is definitely not ‘monologic’. By means of the ‘bricolage’ of disparate components, and absence of an authoritative narrator, the reader should be extraordinarily cautious of extrapolating any form of opinion from Puig’s novel. In evaluating the representations of masculinity and femininity in Kiss of the Spider Girl, Puig focuses way more on the womanish Molina and his supposedly female considerations. In his opposition to the dictates of a patriarchal society, Valentin seems to be asserting that gender is an ideology constructed class. Nonetheless the polyphonic nature of Puig’s textual content finally signifies that no explicit assertion prevails.