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The House of the Spirits and Kiss of the Spiderwoman Essay

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It is, at times, stated that paradoxes allow for misinterpretation in almost every aspect of life. Wherever those paradoxes appear, conflicts, both external and internal, arise and misunderstandings ensue. In the two novels The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and Kiss of the Spiderwoman by Manuel Puig, however, the characters Alba and Molina, respectively, create paradoxes through their subversive actions. These paradoxes create conflicts in self-interest, which, in turn, reveal the impossibility of actually knowing or understanding one’s true motives.

In Allende’s The House of the Spirits, the character Alba displays subversive tendencies around her progression into adulthood. For example, Alba
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The paradox in this instance appears in the idea that one cannot tell if Alba values her sanity more than her life, or vice versa. Also, one cannot fathom what Alba truly wants to accomplish through her makeshift memoirs. Even though one can argue that Alba records these events because Clara told her that it was necessary for survival, one could also argue that Alba is doing so in order to show her devotion to Miguel and his cause. By disobeying the warden, Alba displays rebellious tendencies. Also, one could argue that Alba does this in order to take her mind off of Miguel, as some of the other inmates tell Alba to “don’t think about Miguel”.

Though he is, in most aspects, the exact opposite of Alba, the character Molina from Puig’s Kiss of the Spiderwoman also exhibits subversive behaviors. And with these actions, their respective paradoxes also appear to create the aforementioned conflicts in interest. For example, there is one instance in which Molina states that, for him, acting “like a man” in a relationship is “not for me,” thus stating that he enjoys being submissive in a relationship instead of being the aggressor. However, Molina takes the initiative when agreeing to support Valentin’s guerilla motives, not submitting to Valentin, but standing on an equal level with him. The fact that Molina is not submissive in regards to Valentin allows one to question whether Molina is pretending to be submissive in order to gain Valentin’s pity and or trust, or rather
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